Brandon Webb of the Arizona Diamondbacks won a wide-open race for the National League (NL) Cy Young Award, beating out San Diego closer Trevor Hoffman on Tuesday.
One of six pitchers 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.
Webb, a sinkerballer, went 16-8 with a 3.10 ERA and made his first Major League Baseball All-Star team.
"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."
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'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.
Fernando Valenzuela of the Los Angeles Dodgers was honored with a 13-7 record in 1981 and Atlanta's Greg Maddux went 16-6 in 1994 -- but those seasons were cut short by players' strikes.
Webb also is the first NL winner to have an ERA above 3.00 since Philadelphia's Steve Carlton had a 3.10 mark in 1982.
Rick Sutcliffe split the 1984 season between Cleveland and the Chicago Cubs, finishing with a 3.64 ERA overall but a 2.69 mark in the National League.
The American League Cy Young Award winner will be announced on Thursday -- and Minnesota's Johan Santana is a heavy favorite.