Carrasco cruises, Santana homers to top A's
OAKLAND -- Carlos Santana hit a two-run homer in support of right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who fired a one-run complete game to guide the Indians to a series-opening, 3-1 victory over the A's at the Coliseum on Thursday night.
"He kind of took the sting out," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Carrasco. "I'm thrilled the way he pitched. I know he's mentioned being a little tougher, trying to dig deeper. I thought tonight he did everything you're supposed to do. Now, you've just got to follow it up again. That was a really good outing."
Santana's 12th home run of the season highlighted a three-run first inning against A's starter Chris Bassitt, who settled down nicely thereafter to complete a season-high seven frames.
The A's recorded two hits in the first but, after Josh Reddick's one-out double, went 0-for-26 with a walk against Carrasco, who allowed just two balls out of the infield in that span. It was the right-hander's second complete game of the season and fifth of his career.
"It was his mix of pitches, all his pitches today," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Carrasco. "His change was a little harder than we've seen it with more movement, but he also mixed in his slider and his curveball, was unpredictable. That's as well pitched a game as we've seen this year."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Slamtana: Cleveland opened the game with four straight hits -- capped off by a laser of a two-run homer from Santana. With Michael Brantley on third base, Santana sent a no-doubter at 106 mph off the bat and 406 feet to dead center for a Coliseum-quieting shot that gave the Tribe a swift, 3-0 lead.
"It seems like every ball [he's hit lately], he's really squared up and with authority," Francona said. "It's kind of been to center and left-center, which the hope is he kind of understands that and stays with it. Because, he can be so dangerous and he's strong enough to hit the ball out of the ballpark that way."
Bassitt settles down: After surrendering hits to each of his first four batters faced, the last a two-run shot to Santana, Bassitt limited the Indians to two hits over his next six frames, facing just one over the minimum in that span to keep his team in the game. The right-handed Bassitt, who is expected to remain in the rotation following the losses of Scott Kazmir to a trade and Jesse Hahn (right forearm strain) to injury, has a 3.00 ERA in five starts. More >
"We're just not getting him any run support," Melvin said. "He's been good, and he knows he's here for a while and can settle into his routine without pitching one game and going back down. He's done a nice job."
Gio grand: With one out and Brett Lawrie on first base in the fourth, Stephen Vogt flared a pitch from Carrasco down the left-field line. Rookie third baseman Giovanny Urshela made a running catch, spun and relayed the ball across the diamond to second baseman Jason Kipnis. Lawrie, thinking it would drop for a hit, was caught too far off the base, and was doubled up when Kipnis tossed the ball to Santana at first for the out.
"Gio's made plays, it seems like, every game," Francona said. "He's not the fleetest of foot, but you put a glove on him and he seems to become more athletic. And I mean that really as a compliment. He looks like he loves having the ball hit his way and, if it's not hit his way, he'll go get it."
"There was something with my glove. I moved my glove too much and today I just kind of held it [still]. … My glove was a little bit down and they were picking up everything. That's the work that I did between starts. I looked at my video and said, 'OK, there's something wrong right here.' That's what I figured out. I made sure everything was together with my mechanics and my pitching." -- Carrasco, who thought he tipped his pitches in his previous start
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Carrasco's complete game marked the third time in a row that an Indians starter went the distance. Trevor Bauer (Tuesday) and Corey Kluber (Wednesday) logged a complete game in each of the Tribe's previous two games. That represents the first time since June 30-July 2, 1994 (Mark Clark, Jack Morris and Charles Nagy) that Cleveland had three straight complete games from its rotation. The last team to achieve the feat was Oakland from July 31-Aug. 2, 2010, when Dallas Braden, Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill each turned in a full effort.
Indians: Hard-throwing right-hander Danny Salazar (8-6, 3.72 ERA) is slated to start for the Tribe in the second tilt of this four-game set at 9:35 p.m. ET Friday in Oakland. Over his past three starts, Salazar has spun to a 2.11 ERA with 24 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings, but he only has a 1-2 record to show for it.
Athletics: Right-hander Kendall Graveman, who is 0-3 with a 10.22 ERA over his last three starts after posting a 1.26 ERA in his previous six, will look to get back on track in a home start against the Indians. First pitch at the Coliseum is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. PT.
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