Carrasco and Tribe Bullpen Combine on Two-Hit Shutout; Indians 4, White Sox 0
Bob Toth | On 11, Jun 2018
The Cleveland Indians kicked off the final leg of their current seven-game road trip with a 4-0 two-hit shutout of the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.
Carlos Carrasco endured a high pitch count early to give the Indians seven quality innings, allowing just four base runners on the night. Three relievers stepped in to record the final six outs to near perfection, sealing the Indians’ third win away from home during this current stretch in Detroit and Chicago.
The first trip through the order was quiet for both clubs as the Indians struggled to get anything going against Chicago right-hander Lucas Giolito. The walks would be the young right-hander’s only concerns, as he retired five straight before walking long-time Chicagoan Melky Cabrera in the second and Erik Gonzalez in the third.
Carrasco’s path the first time through was a little bit rockier, but he would overcome the early issues. He hit the second batter of the game, Yolmer Sanchez, and threw a pair of wild pitches to allow him to move all the way to third, but his second strikeout of the inning got him out of the jam. In the second around a pair of strikeouts, he gave up a one-out single to Kevan Smith and an infield single to Charlie Tilson, but got his third strikeout of the inning to strand a pair. He made it five straight outs retired via strikeout to start the bottom of the third inning before ending the frame with a pair of groundouts.
After ensuring there was no damage from a pair of walks during the second and third, it would be a loss of command with two outs that would put Giolito into trouble. He started the inning by getting Jose Ramirez to ground out and Francisco Lindor to strike out looking, but Yonder Alonso and Cabrera each walked. After Giolito had missed with eight of his last eleven pitches, Lonnie Chisenhall jumped on a first pitch fastball and blooped it into shallow center field, just out of the reach of second baseman Yoan Moncada and center fielder Adam Engel. Alonso scored on the plate to put the Indians on the board, while Cabrera pulled into third. Yan Gomes followed with a big two-run double down the left field line, giving Carrasco and the Indians a 3-0 lead.
The Tribe right-hander struck out the first two batters of the fourth and got Smith to fly out before his offense tacked on a final run of support in the top of the fifth. With one down, Michael Brantley got a four-seamer up and over the plate that he was able to yank down the right field line for his eleventh home run of the season, pushing the Tribe’s lead to 4-0.
Carrasco’s string of eleven straight batters retired came to an end in the sixth inning with a one-out walk of Sanchez. He moved into scoring position on the third wild pitch of the game on Carrasco, but would move no further. Carrasco added his tenth and eleventh strikeouts of the game in the seventh, ending his outing the same way that he started it with a strikeout.
The Indians had two on in the seventh on a two-out single by Ramirez and a walk by Lindor, and did similar with one out in the eighth inning on a Chisenhall single and a walk by Gomes, but in neither circumstance was the club able to drive in any extra runs.
The Cleveland bullpen handled the final two innings in relief of Carrasco. Zach McAllister got a line out before plunking Engel with a pitch. Oliver Perez wrapped up the inning with a force at second and a fly out. Neil Ramirez pitched the ninth, striking out the final two batters to close out the game.
Carrasco earned the win, his eighth of the year against four losses, while Giolito dropped to 4-7. The Indians moved to 35-29, a season-high six games over the .500 mark with their sixth shutout of the season. Chicago fell to 22-42 with the loss and is now just 10-20 on the season at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Carrasco started the series right for the Indians by making one of his best starts of the season. With a big lead and a high pitch count, he did not need to stay on the mound for the final two innings, instead giving some of the bullpen arms an opportunity to get in some game action on the road.
He allowed just two hits, both in the second inning, and a walk while hitting one batter over seven shutout innings. His eleven strikeouts marked the third time this season that he has recorded a double-digit strikeout total in a game and the first time against a team not named the Milwaukee Brewers.
WALKS SINK GIOLITO
Giolito took the mound for the second time in three starts against the Indians, but was unable to prevent his four walks from costing him on the night. Command as a whole was an issue for the young right-hander, who threw just 46 of 93 pitches for strikes and got ahead with first pitch strikes to just eight of the 23 batters that he faced.
He worked five innings, allowing four runs on four hits with four walks and three strikeouts.
The Indians were once again without the services of Edwin Encarnacion and Jason Kipnis, who were held out of the lineup while dealing with ailments. Encarnacion is expected to be back in the lineup on Tuesday. Kipnis has been dealing with a sore neck since leaving during the Tribe’s extra inning loss to Detroit on Saturday night.
Cleveland also played without backup catcher Roberto Perez on Monday as he dealt with the lingering effects of being hit by a pitch on the right hand during Sunday’s win over the Tigers. He was able to grip and throw a ball prior to the game, but if he is unable to suit up for Tuesday’s contest, there remains a chance that he will be placed on the disabled list. The Indians recalled catcher/outfielder Francisco Mejia from Triple-A Columbus prior to the game as a bit of an insurance policy in the event Gomes was hurt during Monday’s game.
The two clubs will return to action on Tuesday night, when the White Sox host the Indians in game two of the four-game set.
The White Sox will send veteran right-hander James Shields (1-7, 4.92 ERA) to the mound, looking to win his first start since his season debut at the beginning of April. He has lost seven consecutive decisions, but has been the victim of some inconsistent run support at times this season. The Indians will recall Adam Plutko (3-0, 3.93) from Triple-A Columbus to make the start. A corresponding roster move will need to take place to return him to the 25-man roster. He earned his third win of the season on Memorial Day in his start against the White Sox, allowing five runs in five innings of work.
First pitch from Guaranteed Rate Field is scheduled for 8:10 PM ET.
Photo: Dylan Buell/Getty Images