Cleveland’s Sweep Overshadowed by Carrasco’s Injury; Indians 6, Tigers 3
Bob Toth | On 24, Apr 2016
Cleveland completed the rare sweep in Detroit on Sunday afternoon by a 6-3 final, but the best stretch of play in the Indians’ young season was overshadowed by the injury to starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco.
Carrasco had faced the minimum when disaster struck. After allowing just a single to center from J.D. Martinez in the second, he had retired Mike Aviles on a grounder to third and was racing to first base to cover a grounder from Andrew Romine when he suffered a leg injury. He completed the play, slipping to the ground, and then rolled over in pain. He appeared to grab the back of his left leg after standing up and trying to walk, but was back on the ground in a matter of steps. He needed assistance in leaving the field and the dugout and was replaced on the mound by reliever Trevor Bauer.
The game early on had a feel of a pitcher’s duel. That all changed after both starting pitchers left with injuries.
The Indians squandered an opportunity in the first after back-to-back one-out singles from Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor put two on. But Mike Napoli struck out and Jose Ramirez flied out to end the early threat.
The scoring floodgates opened in the fourth inning, when the Tigers suffered a loss of their own just two batters after Carrasco’s departure. Detroit starter Shane Greene escaped the first inning jam and was sailing when he walked Lindor to lead off the fourth. Blood could be seen on the palm of his hand and he was pulled from the game with the injury and replaced by Drew VerHagen. With a new pitcher on the mound, Napoli grounded Lindor to second. First pitch swinging, Ramirez doubled to center to score Lindor with the game’s first run. Two pitches later, Marlon Byrd singled home Ramirez. After Juan Uribe popped out for the second out of the inning, Tyler Naquin tripled to the gap in right-center, scoring the final run of the rally to give the Indians a 3-0 lead.
As no lead is ever safe, the Tigers scratched back for a pair off of Bauer in the bottom of the frame. Ian Kinsler singled to lead off and moved to second on a one-out single from Victor Martinez. A dribbler in front of the plate from J.D. Martinez moved both runners up as Roberto Perez retired the former All-Star at first. Nick Castellanos made the mock sacrifice bunt pay off with a single to left that scored both Kinsler and Victor to make it a 3-2 game. Bauer reared back and struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia swinging on a full count pitch to end the threat.
The Indians responded with another big inning in the fifth, expanding on their lead. Kipnis and Lindor each singled, with Kipnis moving to third on a fly out from Napoli for the first out off of VerHagen. Aggressive approaches paid off from the next two batters, as Ramirez sent his first pitch to right for an RBI-single and Byrd did the same to center on his first pitch to score Lindor and end the afternoon for the Tigers’ second pitcher of the day. Lefty Matt Boyd took over and gave up a single to center to Uribe, scoring Ramirez and making it a 6-2 game, before a fielder’s choice and a caught stealing ended the inning.
Cleveland threatened a two-out rally in the seventh, but was unable to score. Zach McAllister pitched a scoreless bottom half.
The Tigers scored in the eighth against Bryan Shaw on an RBI-double from Victor Martinez to score Kinsler, but the bigger story was Detroit manager Brad Ausmus coming on to the field several times to slow down the game and complain about an object on Shaw’s glove hand. It was a rubber wedding ring, one that was inspected by the umpires initially and allowed to remain on his hand before Ausmus again exited the dugout and complained that it violated the rules.
The gamesmanship may have worked out for the Tigers skipper, as Shaw responded by firing a fastball past J.D. Martinez for a strikeout, but then walked Castellanos and Saltalamacchia to load the bases. Jeff Manship took over for Shaw and Ausmus pinch-hit Miguel Cabrera, but the former Indians killer popped up on a 3-2 pitch in foul territory to Carlos Santana at first to end the threat.
Cody Allen pitched a perfect ninth, striking out Kinsler swinging to end it while recording his sixth save in six chances.
The sweep for the Indians gives them a season-high third win in a row and pushed the club two games above the .500 mark for the first time this season with a 9-7 record. They are now 6-2 on the road as they have six more to play away from home before returning to Progressive Field in early May. The Tigers (8-9) drop below the .500 mark for the first time this season after the sweep at the hands and bats of the Tribe. They have now lost four straight, six of their last seven, and seven of their last nine.
WE’RE GOING SWEEPING
Sunday’s win secured the three-game series sweep for the Indians, the first time Cleveland has swept a series from Detroit since May 19-21, 2014. The Tribe had not swept a series in Detroit since August 25-27, 2008.
Cleveland has now won seven of their last nine against Detroit.
CARRASCO EXITS WITH HAMSTRING ISSUE
Carrasco did not factor in the decision after exiting in the third inning. He grabbed the back of his left leg after covering first base on a groundout from Romine. He remained on the field for a period of time after attempting to walk several steps before collapsing back to the turf. He needed assistance leaving the field and again in the dugout while trying to move towards the clubhouse.
The severity of his injury is currently unknown, but in the postgame interview it sounded like a disabled list trip was the end result at the minimum.
“We sent him back to Cleveland, he’s driving back. He’s on his way there now,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “Without an MRI, we’re not going to know the severity of it. He’s going to be a DL. The hope is that it’s not terrible. I think when you see a guy go down like that, it’s not just something that grabbed at him. So we’ll just wait for the MRI and we should get the results in the afternoon tomorrow.”
BAUER BIG OUT OF PEN
Bauer (1-0) got the win, his first of the season, after taking over as the pitcher of record in the third inning for the injured Carrasco. He surrendered two runs on four hits on the afternoon over three and one-third innings. He struck out four and walked one while throwing a season-high 64 pitches, 44 of which were for strikes.
“With a lot of things happening…Carlos goes down. That’s deflating,” said Francona. “But Trevor came in and really did a good job. It’s easy for us to say, ‘Hey, stay ready, you’re going to get an opportunity’. But to his credit, he has really stayed ready. For him to be able to throw 64 pitches and really keep the game right in check is a tribute to him. He’s kept himself in shape and his arm and he didn’t lose anything the whole time he was in there.”
GREENE LEAVES WITH BLOODY BLISTER
Greene (1-2) was dealt a very tough loss by the scoring rules after leaving in the top of the fourth after walking the leadoff batter. Lindor would later come around to score the game’s first run off of reliever VerHagen. Greene started out strong, throwing first pitch strikes to ten of the first 12 batters he faced, but exited after a five-pitch walk to Lindor in the fourth.
The Tigers announced during the game that he left with a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand. VerHagen gave up five runs in relief, while Boyd pitched four and two-thirds innings of two-hit ball.
Naquin celebrated his 25th birthday on Sunday with his fifth straight start in center field. He extended his hitting streak to a career-high five games and notched his first career triple in the scoring onslaught in the fourth.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY PART TWO
Detroit Tigers first base coach and beloved former Indians star shortstop Omar Vizquel turned 49 on Sunday.
Since his final day as a 32-year-old, Cabrera is in a 2-for-25 slump. He was held hitless in the series against the Indians, going 0-for-7 with a walk in three games. He did not start Sunday’s game, but entered with the bases loaded in the eighth, pinch-hitting for the ex-Indian Aviles. Cabrera is now hitting .206 on the season.
A notorious destroyer of Indians pitching, he has struggled against the Indians in each of his last three series, combining to go 2-for-31 (.065) in his last nine games versus Cleveland dating back to September 4, 2015. He has not been held hitless in a series against the Indians since the end of August, 2013, when he was hitless in his lone at bat in the series opener and left after two innings with an abdominal issue that kept him out of the rest of the series.
LINDOR LOVING THE TIGERS
Lindor reached base safely in four of his five trips to the batter’s box against Detroit pitching on Sunday. He was 3-for-4 at the plate with three singles and added a walk. Kipnis and Byrd had a pair of singles and Ramirez had a single and double in four trips. Perez walked three times.
DOWN ON THE FARM
Former Indians relief pitcher Preston Guilmet was part of something special for the Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate, the Toledo Mud Hens, on Saturday, as he was one of four pitchers to throw a combined no-hitter for the club. Guilmet threw two scoreless innings and was followed by Logan Kensing and Bobby Parnell in relief of Warwick Saupold, the Australian pitcher who worked five hitless innings to start the game against Charlotte. It was the first no-hitter for the Mud Hens in 20 years.
TRIBE AND TWINS
The Indians will continue their three-city road trip on Monday when they start a three-game set against the Minnesota Twins, who have recovered some from their nine-game losing skid to open the season. Right-hander Danny Salazar (2-1, 1.47) will open the series for the Tribe. Tommy Milone (0-1, 5.87) will oppose for Paul Molitor and the Twins.
Photo: AP Photo/Paul Sancya