Carlos Carrasco gave the Indians a quality outing and three solo homers provided some run support as the Indians defeated the Oakland Athletics, 5-3, on Memorial Day.
The Indians’ number two starter, making his second start since a left pectoral injury sidelined him for a few days, looked much more himself on the mound in limiting the A’s to just two late runs in his outing. His teammates were able to get to second-year starter Daniel Mengden, who was making his first start of the season while replacing the injured Kendall Graveman in the rotation.
“Cookie” was crisp in the first few innings, striking out two batters swinging to end the first and two more swinging in the second. A two-out walk in the third put the first runner on base and former Indians outfielder Rajai Davis, celebrated before the game by the club for his efforts last season, singled to right, but Carrasco got his second swinging strikeout of the inning to leave the pair standing where they were.
Austin Jackson, the ninth man in the order, notched the Indians’ second hit of the afternoon leading off the third. He took a Mengden offering the opposite way to right, just clearing the wall with a solo homer to give the Indians a one-run lead.
Carrasco breezed through a quick fourth inning and the Indians offense got back to work with a big inning off of the young A’s right-hander. Carlos Santana worked a 3-1 count before sending a deep drive out of the yard to right for a solo shot to lead off the home half of the frame. The next batter, Edwin Encarnacion, did him just a bit better, sending a monstrous shot to straightaway center. The 450-foot-plus shot gave Cleveland a 3-0 lead and extended his hitting streak to eight straight. Jose Ramirez kept the hit train rolling with a double to center and Yan Gomes delivered with a seeing-eye single up the middle to drive home the speedy third baseman with the fourth run of the game. Bradley Zimmer worked the count full before lining a bullet off of the lower leg of Mengden that ricocheted into left field for a double to put two in scoring position. Jackson tacked on another run and his second of the day with his third sacrifice fly in the last two games, pushing across Gomes and making it a 5-0 Indians’ lead.
An aggressive Athletics lineup took few pitches over the fifth and sixth innings, stranding a leadoff single by Ryon Healy in the fifth and doubling up Chad Pinder in the sixth after he reached basee after being plunked by a pitch.
The A’s struck through against Carrasco in the seventh to cut into the deficit. With one out, Yonder Alonso homered deep to center and Healy delivered a drive of his own to the bleachers in left to make it a 5-2 game.
Carrasco handed the game over to Andrew Miller for the eighth inning and the Tribe left-hander responded in fashion, striking out all three batters that he faced swinging to send the game towards its final stanza.
Cody Allen made it an adventure, a curious and somewhat unsettling trend through much of May. After getting a groundout from Jed Lowrie, Khris Davis delivered the A’s third homer of the day to left-center to cut the Indians’ lead to two runs. Allen struck out Alonso swinging, but Healy and Stephen Vogt each singled to bring the go-ahead run to the plate in Trevor Plouffe. He saw four pitches, cut at three of them, and exited the batter’s box with a strikeout to show for it as Allen slammed the door with his 14th save of the season.
The win pushed the Indians record to 26-23 on the season and Cleveland finally reached double digits in home wins, the last team in the league to do so. The A’s (22-28) fell to 7-18 away from home this season.
Carrasco’s stat line was nearly free of blemishes through six innings of shutout baseball, having allowed just two hits and a walk. The two solo homers back-to-back may have led to a speedier exit, but it took little away from an otherwise sound effort from the right-hander.
He finished the afternoon with seven innings worked, four hits and two runs allowed, one walk, one hit batter, and seven strikeouts. He needed just 101 pitches to get through seven and threw 69 of them for strikes, including 14 pitches that were swung on and missed. He earned his fifth win of the season in the process against two losses.
ROUGH GO FOR MENGDEN
Mengden, getting the call from Triple-A Nashville, had a tough time with the Tribe lineup, especially after the first time through the order. He would last three and one-third innings on the holiday, giving up five runs on seven hits with a walk and a strikeout. Three long balls would do the bulk of his undoing as he struggled to miss the Indians bats throughout the contest.
TWO STREAKS CONTINUE, ONE ENDS
The 12-game hitting streak of Francisco Lindor came to a close on Monday afternoon as he went 0-for-4 at the plate after a day off on Sunday.
Brantley’s own 12-gamer increased to 13 with a single in four trips against Oakland on Monday. Encarnacion’s homer in the fourth extended his hitting streak to eight straight as he appears to be busting out of his slump with a powerful boom.
The second of four games between the Indians and A’s will pick up at 6:10 PM ET on Tuesday night with right-handers Sonny Gray (2-1, 3.34 ERA) and Trevor Bauer (4-4, 6.30) matching up on the mound at Progressive Field.
Gray has pitched well since returning from a disabled list trip that kept him sidelined the entire first month of the season. He has made five starts in May, with four lasting at least six innings and three resulting in quality starts. He made his best start of the season his last time out when he gave up just one run on three hits with a walk and a season-high eleven strikeouts. Bauer has lasted deeper into games for the Indians of late and has kept the damage to a minimum. In his last start, he took his first no-decision of the season when he allowed just two runs on four hits.
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