The Cleveland Indians have struggled to come through in the clutch at the plate throughout the first nine days of May, but starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco gave the offense a boost with a dominant performance against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre Tuesday night.
Carrasco spread three Toronto hits over seven innings of work with seven strikeouts without allowing a walk or run on the way to a 6-0 victory for the Indians (18-14) over the Blue Jays (12-21).
Carrasco faced the minimum of three batters in five of the seven innings he worked against the Blue Jays, and got around the hits in the first, third and seventh frames.
After getting right fielder Jose Bautista to ground into a 5-4-3 double play in the bottom of the first inning, he got two strikeouts each in the second, third and fourth frames to keep the Blue Jays off of the scoreboard.
Then, in the bottom of the seventh, Carrasco worked around a one-out single from Bautista by getting pinch hitter Steve Pearce to fly out to right field and first baseman Justin Smoak to strike out swinging for his final out of the game and the last of the inning.
While Carrasco was dealing on the mound, he got plenty of support from the offense.
The Indians made the most of back-to-back walks in the top of the second inning.
Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion, who spent parts of eight seasons with the Blue Jays before signing with the Indians in the offseason, took four straight pitches out of the zone after looking at two strikes to start the at-bat against Toronto starter Mike Bolsinger. Then, third baseman Jose Ramirez drew a four-pitch walk.
Center fielder Lonnie Chisenhall followed with an RBI double to center, which brought around Encarnacion for the game’s first run and moved Ramirez into scoring position. Ramirez scored on a fielder’s choice from left fielder Yandy Diaz.
The Indians added an insurance run in the top of the seventh inning.
Catcher Yan Gomes started the rally with a one-out five-pitch walk, and then, first baseman Carlos Santana drew a five-pitch free pass of his own. Shortstop Francisco Lindor drove in Gomes with an RBI ground-rule double over the wall in left field.
However, the Blue Jays buckled down and limited the damage to one run by getting second baseman Jason Kipnis to foul out to third base and reliever Jason Grilli came out of the bullpen to strike out Encarnacion swinging for the final out of the inning with two runners in scoring position.
The Indians made sure the outcome was not in doubt when Gomes, a former Blue Jays catcher, crushed a three-run home run into the seats behind the Toronto bullpen in left field in the top of the eighth inning, which gave Cleveland a 6-0 advantage.
With left fielder Brandon Guyer and right fielder Abraham Almonte on base via a hit-by-pitch and single to right field respectively, Gomes smashed the first pitch he saw from left-handed reliever Aaron Loup over the wall for his second homer of the season.