Diamondbacks' Webb dethrones Cards' Carpenter

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Cardinals pitcher finished third behind San Diego's Trevor Hoffman.

NEW YORK -- Back in the minor leagues, Brandon Webb had so much trouble controlling his sinker that he was hitting batters with it all the time and growing increasingly frustrated on the mound.

A few years later, that sensational pitch made him a Cy Young Award winner.

The Arizona Diamondbacks' ace won a wide-open race for the NL's top pitching honor, beating out San Diego closer Trevor Hoffman on Tuesday.

"It's really unbelievable, looking back to where I started from," Webb said. "It just happened for me this year."

One of six starters who tied for the league lead with a pedestrian total of 16 wins, Webb received 15 of 32 first-place votes and 103 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Hoffman, who broke the career saves record this season, got 12 first-place votes and 77 points.

St. Louis Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter, last year's winner, finished third with two first-place votes and 63 points.

"All three of us probably were deserving of it and probably a couple more guys, too," Webb said. "I knew that I had a pretty good chance."

Houston's Roy Oswalt, who led the NL with a 2.98 ERA, got the other three first-place tallies and came in fourth.

Webb, who went 16-8 with a 3.10 ERA and made his first All-Star team, was listed second on seven ballots and third on seven others. No pitcher was included on every Cy Young Award entry.

"It was pretty big emotions. We were very excited for it," Webb said. "It's with you forever. To have that title go along with you means a lot."

Webb's victory total was the lowest for a starting pitcher who won the Cy Young Award in a full season. The previous low was 17 wins, by Pedro Martinez of the Montreal Expos in 1997 and Randy Johnson for Arizona in '99.

The 39-year-old Hoffman finished with a league-leading 46 saves in 51 chances for the Padres.

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