Carrasco Ends Skid with 14 Ks in Complete Game Win; Indians 6, Brewers 2
Bob Toth | On 09, May 2018
The Cleveland Indians ended their four-game losing skid and salvaged the final game of their five-game road trip, using a pair of long balls and a complete game effort from Carlos Carrasco to defeat the Milwaukee Brewers, 6-2, on Wednesday afternoon.
Carrasco was the star for much of the day for the Tribe, striking out the Brewers at ease on the way to 14 total, one short of his career high. He earned his fifth win of the year and ended the Tribe’s losing streak at four with a complete game effort, allowing just two runs on five hits on the afternoon. He threw 117 pitches, making him a curious choice to bring back out in the latter innings. Given the bullpen’s woes, there may have been some hesitance on the part of the coaching staff, which instead opted to let Carrasco throw his second complete game of the year.
Both teams were held scoreless through the first trip through the batting order, although the Indians threatened in the first against Milwaukee starter Junior Guerra. He allowed a one-out single to Jason Kipnis and walked Michael Brantley with two outs, but got his second strikeout of the inning to leave a pair on base.
Carrasco gave up hits in the first two innings, but no runner advanced off of first. Lorenzo Cain started the afternoon for the Brewers with a leadoff single in the first, but was stranded. Jonathan Villar singled with one out in the second, but was forced at second to start an inning-ending double play.
In the fourth, the Indians used four straight hits off of Guerra to take a big lead. Jose Ramirez doubled to deep right center and Brantley followed with a run-scoring single. Yonder Alonso doubled the opposite way to left, moving Brantley up to third, and Tyler Naquin cleared them all with a back-breaking clout to right on a 3-2 slider for a three-run home run, giving the Indians a 4-0 lead.
The Indians would be unable to pad their lead in the top of the fifth, despite getting two runners on base. After striking out in his first two at bats, Francisco Lindor singled to extend his hitting streak to eleven games, but was thrown out trying to stretch it to two bases. After Kipnis struck out, Ramirez walked and stole second before Brantley flied out to left.
Carrasco found an incredible groove on the mound after the Villar single in the second. Following the double play ball to end that inning, he struck out the side in order in the third and fourth innings and added two more Ks in the fifth after a groundout by Domingo Santana to start the inning.
The Indians left two more on base in the sixth against reliever Jacob Barnes. Alonso and Naquin each singled to start the inning, but Bradley Zimmer popped out, Roberto Perez flied out, and Carrasco grounded into a fielder’s choice force at second to end the threat.
Carrasco added another strikeout to his tally in the sixth and got another double play ball to end the inning, erasing a leadoff walk by Orlando Arcia. Lindor rewarded his starting pitcher for the effort by greeting Corey Knebel, in his first work off of the 10-day disabled list, with a drive deep to the second deck in right on the fourth pitch thrown by the right-hander in the top of the seventh to extend the Cleveland lead to 5-0.
Milwaukee got on the board in the home half of the seventh. Back-to-back singles by Christian Yelich and Jesus Aguilar set up the scoring, as with runners on the corners, Travis Shaw knocked one in with a grounder to second. Carrasco prevented further damage all on his own, striking out Santana and Villar to leave a runner at first in the 5-1 game.
Carrasco aided his own cause in the ninth. Perez tripled to right to start the inning and scored the sixth run of the game easily on a single to left by the Tribe starter, the second base hit of his career. The right-hander came back out for the ninth, giving up a leadoff double to Cain. He would score the second run of the game for the Brewers after moving to third on a Yelich groundout and home on a sacrifice fly by Aguilar. Shaw, the last hope in the four-run deficit, struck out swinging for the 14th K of the day for Carrasco.
The Indians (18-18) moved back to the .500 mark with the win, keeping a one-game lead over the idle Minnesota Twins, who have won five straight and open a four-game series in Anaheim with the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night. The Brewers (21-16) dropped to 10-9 at Miller Park this season.
COMPLETE GAME GEM FROM CARRASCO
Carrasco was on cruise control for much of the afternoon, facing only some real resistance late in the contest. He gave up five hits and a walk, but benefitted from a pair of double play balls. He struck out 14, throwing 85 of 117 pitches for strikes. He worked from in front, throwing 24 first pitch strikes, and was elusive, getting 23 swinging strikes on the afternoon. He struck out eight batters in a nine-batter stretch in the middle innings and struck out every Brewers starter at least one time.
GUERRA K’S NINE IN DEFEAT
Guerra struck out a season-high nine batters on Wednesday, but came away with his third straight loss after allowing four runs on six hits with two walks and a home run allowed. It marked the fifth time in six starts this season that he has been unable to complete six innings on the mound. After allowing just two earned runs in his first four starts of the year, he has been charged with nine in his last two outings against Pittsburgh and Cleveland.
URSHELA A BLUE JAY
The Indians announced Wednesday afternoon that utility man Gio Urshela had been traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
The 26-year-old was designated for assignment on Friday after opening the season on the disabled list with a hamstring injury sustained late in spring training while in a battle for one of the final bench spots on the club. He appeared to have the leg up on Erik Gonzalez at the time, but lost that footing with the injury.
In 148 total games for the Indians in the 2015 and 2017 seasons, Urshela slashed .225/.273/.314 with 15 doubles, one triple, seven homers, and 36 RBI.
BREW CREW ON THE MOVE
The Brewers suffered a pair of injuries in the opener of the series on Tuesday night and placed both players on the 10-day disabled list.
Left-handed pitcher Wade Miley and utility man Nick Franklin were placed on the DL on Wednesday as the club activated their closer Knebel and recalled infielder Tyler Saladino from Triple-A Colorado Springs.
The Indians will take Thursday off before opening a brief three-game homestand with the Kansas City Royals on Friday night. Trevor Bauer (2-3, 2.53 ERA) will get the start for Cleveland in the series opener.
The Brewers will leave Milwaukee for Denver, where they start a four-game series with the Colorado Rockies beginning Thursday night.
Photo: Dylan Buell/Getty Images