Webster picks up first big league win

AP Photo/Winslow Townson

BOSTON -- After five career starts, Boston Red Sox rookie starter Allen Webster seems to be settling in.

In front of 37,607 fans, the largest crowd of the season at Fenway Park, Webster picked up his first major league win, going six strong innings in an 8-2 victory over the San Diego Padres.

"It's a big pressure off my shoulders," Webster explained. "Finally got No. 1 out of the way."

After leaving his last outing against the Toronto Blue Jays on June 28 with a one-run lead, the 23-year-old right-hander ended up with a no-decision after a home run allowed by reliever Andrew Bailey tied the game in the seventh.

This time around Webster had the luxury of pitching with a big lead Thursday, as the offense scored seven runs during his six innings of work.

"They helped out a lot, they put up some good runs early," Webster said.

Despite a three-run cushion heading into the third, Webster's command began to slip. A leadoff walk and a hit by pitch, his 13th in 15 starts between Triple-A Pawtucket and Boston this season, were quickly followed by a single that had the bases loaded and no outs for the Padres. Webster was able to limit the damage, allowing only one run to score on a Chase Headley sacrifice fly before ending the Padres' threat.

"He pitched himself into a little bit of traffic," Sox manager John Farrell said. "Clearly he's a work in progress, but I thought today he made a couple of big pitches when he had to."

Catcher Ryan Lavarnway, who has worked with Webster in Triple-A as well, felt the same.

"That could have sped up on him, especially being a young pitcher with not a lot of starts in this league," Lavarnway said. But what good pitchers do is they minimize when innings start to go bad and he minimized it."

For the first time since his big league debut against the Kansas City Royals on April 21, Webster ended up with a quality start.

"I feel like each start I'm just getting a little better, a little better and a little better," he said.

Now with his first big league win underneath his belt, Farrell believes that the rookie is on the right path toward feeling comfortable in the majors.

"It's very significant," Farrell said. "It can not only breed confidence but certainly relaxation. In [Webster's] case I think that's a big step in his whole transition here."

Webster probably will remain in the starting rotation for the time being, though he'd be the likely candidate to be sent down once Clay Buchholz returns from the disabled list.

Kyle Brasseur is an intern for ESPNBoston.com.