He was called up from Triple A Pawtucket Tuesday, after it became clear David Ortiz's left wrist injury would keep him out for an extended period, but it was an odd circumstance that gave Chris Carter his first opportunity in the major leagues. Last night, he took full advantage, going 2 for 3 with a pair of singles and scoring two runs in the Red Sox' 7-1 victory that completed a three-game Fenway Park sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Carter got his chance in the second inning when center fielder Coco Crisp was ejected for charging the mound after he was hit by a James Shields pitch. Crisp's actions sparked a brawl that left the Sox short an outfielder.
Carter went in as a pinch runner for Crisp and scored on a Dustin Pedroia sacrifice fly. He took over left field in the third, with Jacoby Ellsbury moving to center and J.D. Drew in right.
In his first at-bat, in the fourth, Carter singled up the middle and scored when Drew walked with the bases loaded. In his second at-bat, with two outs in the fifth, he singled again, this time to left.
It marked the first time a Sox rookie recorded hits in his first two at-bats since Rey Quinones doubled, walked, and doubled in his first three plate appearances May 17, 1986, against the Rangers. Carter also became the first Red Sox player to get consecutive hits in his first two major league plate appearances since Steve Dillard Sept. 28, 1975, at Baltimore.
Although the 25-year-old California native is known more for his offense, he also had a couple of nice catches in the fifth on Akinori Iwamura and Jason Bartlett.
Carter's debut is likely to be lost amid the other events of the evening, most notably the brawl sparked by Crisp and a dust-up between Kevin Youkilis and Manny Ramírez in the Sox dugout before the fifth. Despite the full-moon atmosphere, Carter was over the moon about being in the lineup.
"After the brawl, I was angry, I was trying to help Coco, and then they told me I was going in," said Carter, who came to the Red Sox from Washington Aug. 21, 2007, to complete the trade for Wíly Mo Peña. "I wasn't even thinking, 'This is my first game' or anything. I was thinking, 'Let's get these guys, let's score some runs.' It was nothing like I expected. I've never been that locked in, that focused. The adrenaline was pumping. In the outfield, I felt like I was really close, like almost shortstop depth. And at the plate, I saw it great. I really did. My first at-bat, I was hoping [Rays pitcher Grant Balfour] would come inside because I wanted to hit a home run. Then he threw me a curveball and I kind of went up the middle and found a hole. Then the second at-bat, I saw them put that huge shift on [to the right] and [Gary Glover] kind of left a curveball outside and I just hit it that way. It was a routine ground ball, but no one was there because of that shift."
Until his recall, the lefthanded hitter was on a tear with the PawSox, hitting .352 (37 for 105), with all 10 of his home runs coming in May.
Carter was returned to Pawtucket after the game in favor of Brandon Moss.
"Of course, it's tough," said Carter. "It's the business side of baseball, and that's how it is and I'll deal with it as best I can and do the best in Pawtucket. [Last night] was absolutely incredible. It was a rush and it was fun. It was great."