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09/06/2008 2:18 AM ET
Carter, Ports cruise into second round
Slugger drives in three runs as Stockton eliminates Modesto
Rookie of the Year Chris Carter drove in eight runs in three games against Modesto. (Ken Weisenberger/


California League Rookie of the Year Chris Carter is emerging as the Stockton Ports' Mr. September.

The 22-year-old third baseman went 2-for-4 with a double, three RBIs and two runs scored Friday night as Stockton pounded the Modesto Nuts, 12-3, in the decisive game of their first-round playoff series at Banner Island Ballpark.

Carter, who led the circuit with 39 homers and 104 RBIs during the regular season, has carried his success into the playoffs.

The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Las Vegas native went 5-for-11 with two homers and eight RBIs during the three-game set to lift Stockton into a second-round matchup with defending champion San Jose.

"Playoffs mean a lot more than regular-season games and I'm just trying to do the best I can to win," Carter said. "I feel we have a pretty good chance [against San Jose]. We played them pretty well during the season and I think it's going to be a great series."

After going 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs in Wednesday's series-opening 6-5 loss, Carter delivered the key blow in Thursday's 7-6 victory with a tiebreaking solo homer in the seventh inning.

"Hitting that ball was a big relief," he said. "There was a lot of tension going into that inning."

Carter was one of three Ports with three RBIs in Friday's clincher. He sparked a four-run third with a run-scoring groundout and ripped an RBI double to fuel a five-run fourth.

"Everybody is excited about the win tonight," he said. "All year long we played them close, so it was a relief to have a game like this."

Matthew Spencer plated Carter with a single in the third and added a two-run base hit in the fourth. Corey Brown launched a two-run homer, his first of the postseason, in the third and smacked an RBI single in the fourth as Stockton ran out to a 9-0 lead.

Staked to the early cushion, Graham Godfrey (1-0) held the Nuts at bay, yielding two runs on seven hits and two walks with two strikeouts over six innings.

Modesto's Aneury Rodriguez (0-1) didn't fare nearly as well in his first postseason start, surrendering four runs on seven hits with two strikeouts in 2 2/3 frames.

Jason Van Kooten tripled and belted a solo homer for the Nuts, who were eliminated in the opening round for the second straight year.

John Torenli is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.