CHICAGO -- Coming into the finale with the White Sox, the Indians had averaged only 3.8 runs per game in August. But thanks to solid pitching performances throughout that span, Cleveland has won seven of 10 to open the month.
Much of the same was true in Sunday's 9-7 win at Guaranteed Rate Field, as Carlos Carrasco settled down after two bumpy opening frames to throw seven innings of one-run ball. Carrasco finished his afternoon retiring his last 16 batters and needed only 90 pitches.
"How [Shane Bieber] attacked those guys and then [Trevor Bauer], today I just did something way different, trying to keep them off balance, too," Carrasco said. "Those guys started with some first-pitch breaking balls, and then sometimes went back and forth, missing with the fastball first and then throwing the breaking ball, so it's trying to do something different."
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"[Carrasco] established the fastball early, and then like he can do, he starts spinning the ball," manager Terry Francona said. "Once he puts velocity in there ahead, you have to respect that. Then he starts throwing his breaking ball and it ends up being really, really effective."
Carrasco allowed just three hits, his lowest total since June 11 when he gave up two, also to the White Sox. He walked no one and struck out nine.
The difference in the game was the offense jumping to life in a way seldom seen since the calendar turned.
Jason Kipnis, slotted into the three-hole for the first time this season, went 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Melky Cabrera, released in June and re-signed in July, hit a towering three-run homer in the first inning. Yandy Diaz, just recalled from Triple-A Columbus after Edwin Encarnacion went on the disabled list, contributed with three hits of his own.
Kipnis has struggled throughout the year, coming into Sunday with a .220/.307/.359 batting line. But on a day where Jose Ramirez rested, Kipnis produced in the slugger's usual spot.
"Kip looked like he's one of the guys in the middle," Francona said. "They did a good job. We scored early, and there's not too many games when you give up six in the last two and win, but we're getting out of here happy."
All in all, eight of nine Cleveland starters recorded a hit in the Indians' rout of the White Sox. Their 14 total hits marked the most since July 29 against the Tigers.
Despite taking an eight-run lead into the eighth and six-run lead into the ninth, the Indians' bullpen nearly collapsed at the end. Adam Cimber and Dan Otero combined to allow six runs in relief, but Cody Allen locked down the save.
"We talk about it all the time, [try] to get the tying run to the plate," Francona said. "[The White Sox] deserve some credit for that too, but it was nice to see Cody come in and put it out, because that'd have been a rough plane ride getting on there."
The Indians are 15 games over .500 for the first time this season.
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White Sox outfielder Adam Engel committed his third robbery in a week -- home run robbery, that is. Engel took away what would have been a three-run homer from Yonder Alonso in the eighth inning. He stole would-be home runs from the Yankees' Greg Bird and Kyle Higashioka earlier this week.
The Indians head to Cincinnati for a three-game Interleague series with the Reds starting on Monday at 7:10 p.m. ET as the teams battle for the Ohio Cup. The Reds lead 2-1 in the season series so far. Mike Clevinger (7-7, 3.38 ERA) goes for Cleveland, coming off a solid start against the Twins. He allowed one run on five hits in seven innings. Homer Bailey (1-9, 6.19) goes for Cincinnati.