Twins Snap Tribe’s Four-Game Streak
CLEVELAND (AP) – Carlos Carrasco wasn’t as sharp as he was in his last outing, and it cost the Cleveland Indians.
Carrasco didn’t get through the fifth inning of Indians’ 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Sunday, snapping a four-game winning streak.
Carrasco (0-3), who pitched into the eighth against Kansas City on June 17, allowed three runs in 4 2-3 innings.
“Today he was missing off the plate a little bit,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “They squared up a lot of balls. To his credit, he pitched, never gave in, he limited damage. They made him work really hard.”
In his last start, Carrasco gave up only one run in 7 1-3 innings. He labored through Sunday’s outing, throwing 104 pitches, walking four and striking out three.
“I threw more inside today than the last time,” Carrasco said. “I just got in trouble a few times and it cost me three runs.”
Carrasco is 0-8 in 10 starts since his last win, which came on June 29, 2011, when he defeated Arizona. He missed all of last season because of elbow surgery. Carrasco also served a seven-game suspension for throwing at the New York Yankees’ Kevin Youkilis earlier this season.
Carrasco appeared to sustain an injury while throwing a pitch to Trevor Plouffe in the third. Francona and head trainer Lonnie Soloff visited Carrasco on the mound. The right-hander remained in the game and retired Plouffe on a fly ball to end the inning.
Matt Albers warmed up in the bullpen in the bottom of the inning but Carrasco returned for the fourth.
“Couldn’t tell if (the back of his leg) cramped on him or if it was kind of tugging on him a little bit,” Francona said. “Just wanted to make sure he was OK.”
It appeared the Indians got a break before the game when Twins scheduled starter Mike Pelfrey was placed on the 15-day DL with a back strain. Pedro Hernandez, who was informed Saturday night that he might be needed, drove from Louisville, Ky., where Triple-A Rochester was playing, and arrived in Cleveland at 4 a.m. Sunday. The left-hander (3-1) pitched around six walks and got the win despite throwing 45 of his 85 pitches for balls.
“This is crazy for me,” Hernandez said. “I slept three hours. But, you know, that’s part of my job. I love my job.”
Three Minnesota relievers allowed one run over the final four innings. Glen Perkins pitched the ninth for his 19th save.
The Indians loaded the bases in the second inning with no outs and could only score one run, a sacrifice fly from Yan Gomes. Jason Kipnis added an RBI double in the third while Drew Stubbs hit a solo homer in the seventh.
Michael Bourn opened the ninth with an infield hit but Mike Aviles bounced into a double play. Jason Kipnis doubled for his third hit of the game before Nick Swisher grounded out.
“We gave ourselves plenty of opportunities. We just never really cashed in,” Francona said. “We kept getting runners on base, we just didn’t do anything with it.”
Kipnis went 3 for 4 with a walk – a single and two doubles – raising his average to .283. He has now reached base safely in 25 straight games.
“Means nothing if you don’t win the game,” Kipnis said. “It’s nice, but like I said, I’d rather have guys on, I’d rather be driven in, I’d rather win games. It means nothing if you don’t win them.”
Minnesota scored in the first on Josh Willingham’s RBI single. Trailing 2-1, the Twins took the lead in the fifth thanks to their clutch hitting.
Clete Thomas’ single and a walk to Joe Mauer started the inning. Carrasco retired the next two hitters but Oswaldo Arcia singled up the middle on a 3-2 pitch to tie the game. Plouffe bounced a single through the left side that put the Twins ahead and ended Carrasco’s day.
Indians pitchers threw four wild pitches on Sunday with Gomes behind the plate.
Swisher returned to the lineup after missing six games with a sore left shoulder. He was hitless in five at-bats and is in a 6-for-60 slump.
Despite the loss, the Indians have won four series in a row and eight of their last 11 games.
“I think we lost a tough game today, but we play like this, we’re gonna be OK,” Francona said. “I’ll take our chances.”
NOTES: Indians RHP Chris Perez is expected to make another minor league rehab appearance on either Tuesday or Wednesday. Perez threw a simulated game at Double-Akron on Sunday. His return to the Indians was delayed after he allowed three homers in one inning for Akron last week. … RHPs Brett Myers (shoulder) and Blake Wood (elbow) will each pitch an inning on a rehab assignment for Class A Mahoning Valley on Monday. Myers began the season in the rotation and was 0-3 with an 8.02 ERA, allowing 10 homers in 21 1-3 innings. Francona said Myers will pitch in the bullpen when he returns. … The Indians, who are 14-21 away from home, open a 10-game road trip Monday in Baltimore. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (5-4) faces RHP Zach Britton (1-1).