HOUSTON -- With his Major League debut under his belt, Astros reliever David Carpenter plans to give the baseball he used to record his first Major League strikeout to his father, who was in attendance for Houston's 7-0 win on Thursday night at Minute Maid Park.
Carpenter, who was called up Wednesday after throwing 19 consecutive scoreless innings at Triple-A Oklahoma City, needed only 16 pitches to throw a perfect eighth inning, striking out Rangers outfielder Craig Gentry swinging for his first out.
"Lot of nerves," Carpenter said. "But it was everything I hoped it would be. [Oklahoma City teammate Nelson] Figueroa told me there's nothing like that first time going out there, and he was right. I tried to keep my nerves about me and tried to stay calm and work in the zone, work quick and try to get ahead of guys. I fell behind a couple of times, but I was able to work my way around it."
Astros interim pitching coach Doug Brocail helped Carpenter retrieve the ball he used to strike out Gentry after it was fouled into the stands during the next at-bat, presenting it to him in the dugout.
"It's definitely a special ball," Carpenter said. "It's going straight to dad, because he spent the most time with me in the backyard. It's definitely a special occasion."
Carpenter's father, Darrell, who made the trip to Houston from West Virginia along with David's mother, Barbara, and girlfriend, Brooke Keene, said he couldn't have been more proud of his son.
"It was very exciting," he said. "I was very proud of him. To come out with the first batter he faced and strike him out was just amazing to me. To battle back from being down, 3-0, to get the second out, I couldn't ask for a better outing. If he was half as nervous as I was, he didn't show."