CLEVELAND — Carlos Carrasco returned from the disabled list — and returned to the win column — as Jose Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion drove in three runs apiece, leading the Cleveland Indians to their fifth straight victory, 10-4 over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.
Carrasco (9-5) shook off two homers measuring over 900 combined feet in the first two innings and pitched into the sixth in his first start since being drilled on the right elbow by a line drive on June 16. He struck out seven in 5 1/3 innings and showed no rustiness despite the layoff.
Francisco Lindor stole home as the AL Central-leading Indians won their eighth straight home game. Cleveland is an MLB-best 56-21 at Progressive Field since the All-Star break last season.
Matt Olson and Dustin Fowler homered for the A’s, who lost for just the second time in 10 games since June 25.
Oakland closed to 6-4 in the seventh and had the bases loaded with two out. But Neil Ramirez struck out A’s cleanup hitter Khris Davis to end the threat.
The Indians then put it away with four runs in bottom of the inning, highlighted by Lindor swiping home on the back end of a double steal. With one out, Ramirez broke for second and Lindor waited for the throw to go through before taking off and scoring with a headfirst slide.
Carrasco’s season nearly took a dramatic turn for the worst when he was struck by Joe Mauer’s wicked comebacker last month. Luckily, he escaped with just a bad bruise and manager Terry Francona felt fortunate to have his No. 2 starter back.
“When I saw him, my eyes lit up,” Francona said before the game. “He’s one of our mainstays.”
Carrasco’s comeback didn’t start ideally as he was quickly in a 2-0 hole.
Fowler connected on his fourth pitch, driving it 467 feet into the lower seats in right for his sixth homer this season and first of his career leading off a game.
Olson opened the second inning with a 438-foot homer into the shrubs beyond the ball in centre field, giving him 19 this season and 43 in 157 career games — the fifth-fastest pace in MLB history. Only Rudy York (51), Mark McGwire (49), Gary Sanchez (48) and Ryan Braun (47) have been more prodigious out of the gate than Olson.
The Indians got a run back in the second, helped by catcher Jonathan Lucroy’s throwing error. He tried to pick Encarnacion off at first, but his throw was high and Cleveland’s DH went to second and scored — running through third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh’s signal to stop — on Jason Kipnis’ single.
With Indians fans chanting “Jo-se, Jo-se, Jo-se, Jose,” Ramirez …read more