The most rested reliever in Tampa Bay's overworked bullpen pitched three scoreless innings and Chris Singleton had two hits and drove in two runs Monday night to help the Devil Rays beat Chicago 4-2, stopping the White Sox's eight-game winning streak.
"I had a good feeling that it was going to be me," Carter said, adding that entering a game cold following an injury is not the easiest thing to do. "There's the crowd. Guys on deck are watching you warm up and everyone wants to get going."
Carter (1-0) allowed two sixth-inning hits before retiring the last nine batters he faced in relief of Nomo, who left because of cramps in his left hamstring. Danys Baez worked the ninth for his third save in four opportunities.
"It was good to come in and get the win. I was just trying to execute my pitches. Nomo was throwing well," Carter said, adding he didn't feel his pitching was the key to Tampa Bay being able to overcome a 2-1 deficit.
"How am I the star?" he asked, pointing out that Singleton and others made important contributions. "It was an entire team effort."
Singleton had two run-scoring singles off Freddy Garcia (3-2), the second snapping a 2-2 tie in the sixth. Damon Hollins added an RBI double in the sixth, and the Devil Rays scored again for a two-run lead when Aubrey Huff grounded out with the bases loaded in the seventh.
Garcia allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out five.
"I think they're underrated. They have a better team than people think," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said of the last-place Devil Rays. "They have good-looking young players over there."
Tampa Bay snapped a three-game losing streak, winning for just the fourth time in its last 15 games.
The White Sox, who are a major league-best 24-8, scored twice in the first inning on Tadahito Iguchi's RBI double and Paul Konerko's
sacrifice fly off Nomo, who gave up two runs and five hits in five innings.
Guillen and some of his players said the White Sox were flat after flying to Florida from Toronto on Sunday.
"You're going to have days like that," Konerko said. "This team comes to play every day. Some days aren't as good as others as far as the energy. ... Maybe we just got a little complacent. We've done that a couple of games where we got some runs early and shut it down."
Carter replaced Nomo after the Devil Rays starter stopped abruptly as he was set to go into his windup for a 1-0 pitch to Konerko. The 36-year-old clutched the back of his thigh and limped off after being examined by a trainer.
Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said Nomo was fine and is expected to make his next scheduled start on Saturday.
"He just had a real bad cramp in his leg and couldn't get it out. He's fine," Piniella said.
The Devil Rays wasted several opportunities, going 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position through the first four innings. Nomo kept them in the game by escaping a bases-loaded jam in the third.
Tampa Bay broke through against Garcia in the fourth with singles by Carl Crawford, Huff and Singleton producing a run to trim Chicago's lead to 2-1. Hollins tied it with his RBI double, and Singleton followed with his second hit of the night to put Tampa Bay ahead 3-2.
For the second straight time, Nomo exited early from a game he could have won.
The Devil Rays staked him to an 8-1 lead against the Yankees last Wednesday, but the right-hander failed to get through the fifth inning. Tampa Bay wound up winning 11-8.
"It's frustrating," Nomo said through an interpreter. "I'm just glad the team was able to win."
Iguchi has nine RBI over his last 10 games. ... The White Sox have held a lead in all 32 of their games, extending their major-league record. ... Through 33 games, the Devil Rays don't have a home run from the cleanup spot in their batting order. ... Tampa Bay's Toby Hall has a 10-game hitting streak that matches his career high.