Carrasco Flirts with No-No as Tribe Blanks Rays; Indians 5, Rays 0

Just over two years ago, Carlos Carrasco came within an out of throwing the first no-hitter for the Cleveland Indians since 1981 in his victory in St. Petersburg over the Tampa Bay Rays. On Friday night, he flirted with a no-no again as he came seven outs from history, ultimately settling for a combined three-hitter over those same Rays, 5-0.

Backed by a big fifth inning by his teammates against rookie right-hander Jacob Faria, Carrasco contained the Rays in his home away from home, as the Florida resident and road warrior allowed just two hits and two walks in eight scoreless innings to earn his eleventh win of the season, a team-high. He needed just 106 pitches to clear those eight innings, striking out ten and getting 22 swings and misses over the course of the night.

Faria pitched extremely well for the first four innings, going toe-to-toe with Carrasco as both men were perfect through the first four frames. The fifth inning, however, would be his undoing as the Indians would bat around and put five runs on the board.

Edwin Encarnacion got the party started with a homer to center to lead off the inning before three more would reach safely. Jay Bruce recorded his first Indians hit with a single to right. A walk by Carlos Santana and a bunt single just out of the glove of catcher Wilson Ramos by Yan Gomes loaded the bases for Bradley Zimmer, who sent a deep drive towards the gap in left-center for a sacrifice fly, making it a 2-0 game. Giovanny Urshela singled sharply off of the left thumb/wrist of third baseman Evan Longoria and the ball went all the way to the left fielder, scoring Santana from second to make it 3-0. Francisco Lindor walked to reload the bases and Austin Jackson drove in the fourth run of the inning with a fielder’s choice grounder to third for the second out. Jose Ramirez extended the lead to 5-0 with a double to right-center, scoring Urshela, before the tenth man to bat, Encarnacion, fouled out behind the plate to end the inning.

Carrasco - Brian Blanco/Getty Images
Carrasco – Brian Blanco/Getty Images

The Rays would also get their first base runner in the fifth, but with far less reward than the Indians had in their half of the inning. Steven Souza drew a one-out walk, but he would be stranded as Carrasco struck out Brad Miller and got Ramos to ground out to third.

The Indians got the first two men on in the sixth against Faria, but could not add on to their lead. Bruce singled for the second straight inning and Santana walked, but Gomes, Zimmer, and Urshela were retired in order as the two on base proceeded no further.

With six no-hit innings in the books, Carrasco came back out for the seventh and retired Lucas Duda on a fly to left and struck out Trevor Plouffe, who had taken over at third for the injured Longoria. Logan Morrison ended the no-hit bid with a single to right, leaving Carrasco just short again in Tampa. Souza drew his second consecutive walk, but Miller struck out swinging in the Rays only real threat of the night.

Cleveland stranded a pair of two-out walks in the eighth against Dan Jennings, but it was more of the same from Tampa in the home half. Mallex Smith reached base on a one-out infield single on a close play at first base, but a foul out by Adeiny Hechavarria and a strikeout of Corey Dickerson ended Carrasco’s final inning on the mound.

Tyler Olson pitched the ninth, giving up a one-out single to Plouffe before a fly out by Morrison and a strikeout by Souza ended the game.

The Rays (59-58) dropped to 31-28 at home on the season and now trail the Minnesota Twins by a half-game for the second AL Wild Card spot. The Indians (61-52) improved to 30-25 on the season and maintained their three and a half game lead over the Twins in the AL Central.

After a pair of 7:10 PM ET starts to open the four-game series, the Indians and Rays will play at 6:10 PM ET on Saturday in game three. Mike Clevinger (5-4) will make his first start of August after a brief trip to the bullpen. It will be his first career start against the Rays and his second appearance overall. Chris Archer (8-6), a one-time Tribe farmhand, will look to end a long losing streak to his former club. He has faced the Indians six times in his career and has taken the loss in all six starts, including one earlier this season.

Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images

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