Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
'Lightning in a bottle' hits Explorers
Fish closer Carter turns up heat to rack up fourth save of season
Lightning in a bottle -- that's what Dexter Carter is bringing to the Winnipeg Goldeyes as the baseball team's new closer.
Cast aside by the Chicago White Sox and San Diego Padres organizations as a starting pitcher, the 6-6 Carter chucks a fastball in the mid-90-miles- per-hour range and, after receiving the closer role last week, recorded his fourth save of the season Tuesday night in an 8-7 win over the Sioux City Explorers at Shaw Park in front of 5,594 fans.
The Goldeyes (23-15) and Explorers (18-22) meet again at 7 o'clock tonight in the last of this three-game set.
Goldeyes manager Rick Forney said when he signed Carter in the spring the Goldeyes would "try to capture a little lightning in a bottle by using him out of the bullpen" instead of a starter and "let him attack it with his two best pitches -- his fastball and curveball."
In Tuesday's win, Carter struck out the final batter in the ninth with the tying run aboard and throwing again in the 90s.
"He was always a starter in his career, but he hasn't blossomed as a starter. It's too much for him to repeat his delivery. He's always had problems with that," Forney said. "When you're asked to throw five, six, seven innings and you can't repeat your delivery, you're not going to throw strikes or quality strikes consistently enough to be a successful starter.
"We see him as a reliever here. That's the role we wanted him to take with us. He's kind of accepted it, seems to be OK and slowly starting to get himself pointed in the right direction."
The team has been looking for a consistent pitcher to close out games since Nick Carr got a shoulder injury and was put on the inactive list June 13.
"It's kind of like a second chance," said Carter, who was with the Kannapolis of the South Atlantic (A) League last season and had a 3-5 record with a 6.65 ERA.
"I just wanted another chance to pitch again. I didn't think my career was over. I just wanted to find somewhere that I can play, and it just happened in the right moment here."
Carter was drafted in 2008 by the Chicago White Sox, but organized baseball kicked him around a bit after that. The White Sox organization released him earlier this spring.
"Me and Bill (Fish pitching coach Pulsipher) have been working hard every day, trying to get things right with my direction towards the plate, and that's been a big help in changing my career around," Carter said.
"It's giving me a lot more confidence than I've ever had in my whole career. Forney has a lot of confidence in me, I feel, and that makes a big difference."
The Explorers jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the top of the third inning after two errors off Goldeyes starting pitcher Chris Salamida and a grand-slam home run by right-fielder Peter Barrows.
The Goldeyes responded with three runs in the bottom of the third on Josh Mazzola's RBI single and a two-run single by David Narodowski to tie the game 5-5.
After the Explorers scored one in the top of the fourth, Goldeyes first baseman Gabby Martinez hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot that gave the Goldeyes a 7-6 edge. After Brandon Newton's RBI single for Sioux City in the top of the sixth, Jon Weber's single scored Chris Roberson for the 8-7 lead.
It was expected to be the last game for relief pitcher Brian Beuning, who tossed four innings, allowing one run on one hit and struck out four batters to pick up the win.
Leading Winnipeg was Chris Roberson going two-for-five with a triple, double and two RBI, catcher Luis Alen who went three-for-four with a double and scored two runs, and Martinez, who had two hits, including the home run and scored a pair of runs.
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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 27, 2012 D4
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