Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco had not pitched in a regular-season game since September 17, 2016 because of a broken bone in his right hand suffered in the first inning of a start against the Detroit Tigers, but nearly six months after the injury, he was back on the mound Tuesday night.
Carrasco allowed four hits and two earned runs over 5.2 innings of work against the Texas Rangers, but his 7-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio kept the high-powered offense at bay long enough for the bullpen to come in and finish off a 4-3 win at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.
Cleveland Indians continue opening series with Texas Rangers
While Carrasco controlled the game from the mound, he had plenty of run support early.
The Indians literally came out swinging against the Rangers and took a lead with just one swing of the bat in the top of the first inning when lead-off hitter Carlos Santana smacked a 2-1 pitch from Rangers starter Martin Perez over the wall in right-center field for his first home run of the season.
In the next trip to the plate, the Indians built upon their lead when outfielder Austin Jackson drove in right fielder Brandon Guyer with an RBI single to shallow center. Santana followed with another single to center field that drove in catcher Yan Gomes, which gave the Indians a 3-0 lead over the Rangers.
Guyer began the rally with a one-out single to center field, and Gomes drew a walk after starting the at-bat in an 0-2 hole. All of the Indians’ runs in the second inning came with two outs.
The Rangers trimmed the Indians’ lead down to a run in the bottom half of the second inning when third baseman Joey Gallo blasted a two-run home run halfway up the second tier of seats at Globe Life Park. With the two-run homer, Gallo drove in left fielder Ryan Rua, an Amherst native and former Lake Erie College standout.
The Indians got an insurance run that proved to be the difference when left fielder Michael Brantley slapped a two-out single into the hole at shortstop and brought around Jackson for Cleveland’s fourth tally of the game. Jackson was on base because of an infield single.
The Rangers threatened in the ninth, actually getting the game-tying run into scoring position with nobody out when first baseman Mike Napoli smacked an RBI double to deep center field that brought home lead-off hitter Nomar Mazara.
However, Indians closer Cody Allen set down the next three hitters -- second baseman Rougned Odor, pinch hitter Jurickson Profar and Gallo -- on strikes to record his second consecutive save to start the 2017 season.