CLEVELAND -- Success against the Chicago White Sox has eluded Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco for much of his career, but that was not the case in the home opener at Progressive Field Tuesday night.
While the bats struggled, Carrasco kept the Indians (4-3) in the game by allowing just four hits and one earned run with seven strikeouts over seven innings of work. Carrasco set down the White Sox (2-4) in order in three of the first four innings, and the Indians went on to beat Chicago, 2-1, in 10 innings.
“What I think helped was seeing it coming before the game,” Carrasco said. “You just look through those guys, what we did in the past, and the way we had to pitch. I think I checked maybe twice on Gomer, so I think we followed our plan, what we had before the game, and that’s pretty much what we did.”
Over the first four innings, Carrasco allowed only one hit, a double to third baseman Todd Frazier in the top of the second. However, after setting down eight straight batters, Carrasco gave up a 390-foot homer to Frazier.
After the home run, the White Sox looked as though they might add on more runs when right fielder Avisail Garcia smacked a one-out single to center field. However, catcher Geovany Soto struck out swinging, and with Jacob May at the plate, Garcia was caught stealing when Yan Gomes fired a throw down to Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, who slapped down the tag ahead of the slide.
Carrasco worked around having runners on base in the remainder of the fifth inning and much of the sixth, and then, ended his outing with back-to-back strikeouts, including one of Frazier, in the top of the seventh.
“He established the fastball early, and after that, change-up and breaking ball that he could throw really in all of the counts and followed the gameplan,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He and Gomer followed the gameplan really well. You can tell, he’s starting to get confident now. As his pitch limit grows and his endurance goes, he’ll be better too.”
After missing much of the stretch run of the 2016 season and all of the playoffs because of a broken bone in his throwing hand and struggling through much of spring training, Carrasco has made a solid account of himself in the first week of the season.
Over two outings, Carrasco is 1-0 with a 2.13 earned run average after surrendering three runs over 12.2 innings of work. Additionally, Carrasco has struck out 14 hitters, allowed only one walk and held opposing batters to a .182 average.
“I felt it in the first game,” Carrasco said. “I know I had a tough spring training. You know what? When you start coming here and playing real games, it’s way different. In my first game, I went 75 pitches. This game, I went a little bit more, but I feel the way I felt last year before I got hurt.”
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