Tribe wins fifth straight
CLEVELAND (AP) — Carlos Carrasco glanced briefly at his right elbow, which no longer shows any signs of bruising.
He’s healthy and the Cleveland Indians seem to be getting better and better.
Carrasco returned from the disabled list — and returned to the win column — as Jose Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion drove in three runs apiece, leading the Indians to their fifth straight victory, 10-4 over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.
Making his first start since getting smacked with a line drive hit by Minnesota’s Joe Mauer on June 16, Carrasco (9-5) shook off two homers measuring over 900 combined feet in the first two innings. The right-hander struck out seven in 5 1/3 innings and showed minimal rust despite the layoff.
“He gave up a couple of home runs,” said shortstop Francisco Lindor, who stole home and scored three times. “But, he settled down. He started making pitches. He started attacking guys. Throwing that curveball for a strike. He’s one of the best. He’s very successful when he’s doing those things. I’m glad he’s back.”
The AL Central-leading Indians have won eight straight home games. They improved to an MLB-best 56-21 at Progressive Field since the All-Star break last season.
Matt Olson and Dustin Fowler connected against Carrasco, but A’s couldn’t match Cleveland’s firepower and lost for just the second time in 10 games since June 25.
“They’re a hot-hitting team and when they get on a roll, a lot of good things happen,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “Not only do they hit, they put pressure on you on the bases, as well. That’s why they’re as good as they are.”
Carrasco’s comeback didn’t start ideally as he was quickly in a 2-0 hole.
Fowler connected on his fourth pitch, driving it 467 feet into the lower seats in right for his sixth homer this season and first of his career leading off a game.
Olson opened the second inning with a 438-foot homer into the shrubs in center field, giving him 19 this season and 43 in 157 career games — the fifth-fastest pace in MLB history. Only Rudy York (51), Mark McGwire (49), Gary Sanchez (48) and Ryan Braun (47) have been more prodigious out of the gate than Olson.
But while he struggled to locate his fastball, Carrasco used his curve to keep the A’s off-balance.
Carrasco admitted being a little jittery on a ball hit toward him, but he’s now convinced the time off could help him in the long run.
“You don’t want to go to the DL, miss a couple weeks in there, but at the end of the day, it’s going to be worth it,” he said. “From now to the last game of the season, I’m just going to go every five days, take care of myself, then we’ll see in the end.”
Oakland closed to 6-4 in the seventh and had the bases loaded with two out. But Neil Ramirez struck out A’s cleanup hitter Khris Davis to end the threat.
The Indians then put it away with four runs in the bottom half, highlighted by Lindor swiping home on the back end of a double steal. With one out, Ramirez broke for second and Lindor waited for catcher Jonathan’s Lucroy’s throw to go through before taking off and scoring with a headfirst slide.
“As soon as I become a runner, I’m trying to score,” Lindor said. “As soon as I saw him (Lucroy) stand up and see the ball’s rotation, I just took off.”
Carrasco’s season nearly took a dramatic turn for the worst when he was struck by Mauer’s wicked comebacker. Luckily, he escaped with just a bad bruise and manager Terry Francona felt fortunate to have his No. 2 starter back.
“When I saw him, my eyes lit up,” Francona said before the game. “He’s one of our mainstays.”
RUN, EDWIN, RUN
Encarnacion ignored third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh’s signal to stop and scored on Jason Kipnis’ RBI single in the second.
It was his only option.
“I was coming hot,” the slugger said with a smile. “Too late, I couldn’t stop.”
The Indians have scored 10 or more runs an AL-high 11 times this season.
Athletics: LHP Brett Anderson (strained shoulder) threw a pregame bullpen session and could be activated this weekend. The 30-year-old has been on the disabled list since May 19.
Indians: Francona said OF Lonnie Chisenhall will miss “considerable time” with his strained left calf. He was placed on the disabled list Tuesday in Kansas City. Francona said the club should have a better sense of how long Chisenhall will be out once he is seen by team doctors.
Corey Kluber, who is 7-1 with a 1.60 ERA at home, tries to become the first Cleveland pitcher to win 13 games before the All-Star break since Gaylord Perry (15) in 1974. Oakland’s Edwin Jackson pitched into the seventh and beat the Indians on June 30.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press.