CHICAGO -- Through two innings on Monday night, Carlos Carrasco's pitch count was at 50 and he seemed headed for an early exit. But the veteran right-hander settled down to have perhaps his best outing of the season.Carrasco tossed two-hit ball over seven innings, Michael Brantley homered and Yan Gomes
CHICAGO -- Through two innings on Monday night, Carlos Carrasco's pitch count was at 50 and he seemed headed for an early exit. But the veteran right-hander settled down to have perhaps his best outing of the season.
Carrasco tossed two-hit ball over seven innings, Michael Brantley homered and Yan Gomes drove in two runs to power the Indians to a 4-0 victory over the White Sox on at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Lonnie Chisenhall added three hits and an RBI as the Indians beat Chicago for the fourth straight time this season.
Overall, the Indians have won five of six to stretch their lead in the American League Central to 5 1/2 games, the biggest division lead in the Majors.
Carrasco (8-4) struck out 11 and retired 16 of the final 17 batters he faced after giving up a pair of hits in the second inning.
"The first couple of innings, he was trying to get a feel [for] his pitches," said Gomes. "He had some pretty long at-bats against some guys and that'll get your pitch count up.
"But after that, the third inning he had a nice, quick inning and he started rolling from there."
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Carrasco has had success against Chicago before, having gone 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA in four starts against the White Sox last season.
Chicago starter Lucas Giolito (4-7) rolled through the first three innings, allowing just a couple of baserunners on walks. He then retired the first two batters in the fourth, before issuing back-to-back walks to Yonder Alonso and Melky Cabrera.
Chisenhall followed with a bloop to shallow center that dropped in front of the glove of a diving Adam Engel, as Alonso scored from second to make it 1-0.
Gomes then turned the rally into a big inning by lacing a double down the left-field line to plate Cabrera and Chisenhall for a 3-0 advantage.
"Scoring first is always good," manager Terry Francona said, "But then when he came up with that double to give us a couple more … the way Carrasco was pitching, that's a good thing."
Brantley stretched the lead to 4-0 in the fifth with a solo blast to right.
Carrasco was on cruise control after the second, but was helped out by a couple of nice catches to haul in deep drives.
In the fifth, Chisenhall raced back to catch a drive by Engel just in front of the right-field wall. In the sixth, Brantley caught a drive by Jose Abreu in front of the left-field wall.
Chicago's best scoring threat came in the second when Kevan Smith singled with one out. Charlie Tilson followed one out later with an infield single to second. Carrasco, though, struck out Engel looking to end the inning.
"It was great to settle down and to get back to my rhythm," Carrasco said.
Relievers Zach McAllister, Oliver Perez and Neil Ramirez held the White Sox hitless over the final two innings to complete the two-hitter.
With Carrasco's performance on Monday, the Indians have 29 starts of seven innings or more this season, the most in the Majors.
"When you get good starting pitching, it allows the bullpen to not get overused," Francona said.
HE SAID IT
"We wanted to blame the weather, we wanted to blame some other things, but we just got some guys rolling. We just try to put some runs on the board and get the pitchers rolling." -- Gomes, on the Indians rebounding from a slow start
Adam Plutko (3-0, 3.93 ERA) is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Columbus to start Tuesday night in the second game of the series at 8:10 p.m. ET. The right-hander is looking to become the first Indians pitcher to win his first four career starts since Scott Lewis in 2008. This will be Plutko's second start in Chicago. He tossed six scoreless innings in beating the Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 23. James Shields (1-7, 4.92) goes for the White Sox.
John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago.