CLEVELAND -- As Indians righty Carlos Carrasco walked off the mound after the fifth inning in Friday night's 11-2 win against the Tigers at Progressive Field, he entered the dugout having made history.For only the second time in Indians history, Carrasco pitched an immaculate inning. He struck out Nicholas Castellanos,
CLEVELAND -- As Indians righty Carlos Carrasco walked off the mound after the fifth inning in Friday night's 11-2 win against the Tigers at Progressive Field, he entered the dugout having made history.
For only the second time in Indians history, Carrasco pitched an immaculate inning. He struck out Nicholas Castellanos, Michael Mahtook and Jose Iglesias in order and each on three pitches. Former Cleveland starter Justin Masterson accomplished the feat June 2, 2014, against the Red Sox.
"When I came in I just heard about that," Carrasco said of his immaculate inning. "I think the only one [before] was Justin Masterson in 2014. It was really impressive. It felt good."
Carrasco striking out the side came at an ideal time for the Indians, who didn't score in a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the bottom half of the fourth. All three of Carrasco's strikeouts were swinging, and each came on a slider low and out of the zone.
"What Carlos [did], I thought it was huge," Indians bench coach and acting manager Brad Mills said. "We had the bases loaded, nobody out and didn't score in the bottom of the fourth. And he came out in the top of the fifth, when you might think the momentum might be swinging or something, he used nine pitches, struck out the side and set them down. That was sure [a] big key."
Carrasco's nine-pitch, three-strikeout inning was the fifth this season. The others were by Drew Storen (April 18), Craig Kimbrel (May 11), Max Scherzer (May 14) and Kenley Jansen (May 18).
The five immaculate innings this season puts the 2017 campaign in a tie for second-most in a season with 1998. The most in a season came in '14, when there were seven. Carrasco's frame marked the 86th time in Major League history a pitcher has thrown one.
"I've seen a few [immaculate innings]. The good side and on the bad side, as well," Mills said. "It was nice. It was just nice to see him go out there and do what he did."
Carrasco's perfect fifth was just a highlight of his outing, though, as the right-hander went seven innings and allowed two runs on nine hits. He struck out a season-high 11 and only issued one walk to pick up his team-high 10th win.
The Tribe starter found success by mixing his fastball with his breaking pitches to keep Detroit's hitters off balance. Per Statcast™, he threw 36 four-seam fastballs, 28 sliders and 15 curveballs, and combined to record 15 swinging strikes and 22 called strikes with those three pitches.
"My slider was great," Carrasco said. "And my curve, too. But to have my slider [was] even better. I just went with fastball and then the slider has been great the last two games."
With the victory, Carrasco is 3-1 with a 2.36 ERA and 28 strikeouts in four starts (26 2/3 innings) against the Tigers this season. He ended his first half winning five straight decisions dating back to June 11, which marks a new career-long winning streak.
"It's fun [to play behind him]," Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor said. "I know he's got the stuff to be a No. 1 starter and he deserves to be in the All-Star Game. It's just whenever he goes out there and does what he does best, it's pretty special. It's pretty cool. Whenever you see big league hitters miss the ball by five feet, that means he's doing something right."
William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.