MILWAUKEE -- Carlos Carrasco needed a good outing almost as much as the Indians needed him to have a good outing Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park.Fortunately for all involved, Carrasco did just that, striking out a season-high 14 batters and recording his second complete game of the season as the
MILWAUKEE -- Carlos Carrasco needed a good outing almost as much as the Indians needed him to have a good outing Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park.
Fortunately for all involved, Carrasco did just that, striking out a season-high 14 batters and recording his second complete game of the season as the Tribe snapped a four-game losing streak with a 6-2 victory over the Brewers.
"It's an understatement, but we needed that," manager Terry Francona said. "He can sure take his turn five days from now. He really did a good job."
Carrasco was scuffling coming into the game. He'd allowed 10 runs over his previous two starts, spanning 8 1/3 innings. Lorenzo Cain opened the bottom of the first with a leadoff single, but Carrasco retired the next three in order and had faced just one over the minimum through six innings.
Carrasco was especially dominant in the third through fifth innings, striking out eight of nine, including the side in the third and fourth. That extra level came -- not coincidentally -- just as Carrasco started to find his breaking ball, which, paired with nearly flawless fastball command, made things difficult for a Brewers team already struggling to score runs.
"He was making our guys miss by a pretty good amount," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "It was sharp, and rarely in a bad spot."
Cleveland's offense, though, wasn't faring much better against Brewers starter Junior Guerra. The right-hander had six strikeouts though his first three innings, but the Indians hit him for four runs in the fourth before recording an out.
Tyler Naquin's three-run homer -- his second home run of the season -- did the brunt of the damage, and Francisco Lindor added another homer when he led off the seventh with a solo shot off Corey Knebel, making his first appearance since straining his left hamstring April 5.
The Indians' bullpen has been a well-known Achilles' heel since Andrew Miller went on the disabled list with a left hamstring injury of his own last month, but any hope the Brewers had of exploiting that weakness disappeared quickly as Carrasco kept on dealing.
Carrasco's shutout bid came to an end when Travis Shaw drove in Christian Yelich on a fielder's choice in the seventh inning. Carrasco recovered, retiring the next two batters to get out of the inning, and he needed just six pitches to get through the eighth.
"We used the bullpen a lot in New York," Carrasco said. "I wasn't thinking about a complete game -- I was just going one at a time -- but I'm glad I got the complete game so those guys can start fresh on Friday."
Carrasco chipped in on offense, too, driving in an insurance run in the ninth. Jesus Aguilar's sac fly gave the Brewers a second run, but Carrasco struck out Shaw to end it.
"We lost four games. It's more important today that we won the game," Carrasco said. "Everything else comes after that. It was great to strike out 14 and get an RBI, but I'm happy we won the game."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Indians couldn't get much going early against Guerra. But Jose Ramirez led off the fourth with a double and scored on Michael Brantley's single. Yonder Alonso moved Brantley to third with a double, and Naquin worked the count full before smacking a hanging slider to right-center.
Carrasco struck out all nine Milwaukee starters at least once Wednesday and also fanned pinch-hitter Brett Phillips in the sixth inning, becoming the first pitcher to strike out 10 or more different batters in one game since teammate Corey Kluber struck out 10 different Orioles on June 19 of last season.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Carrasco found himself at the plate four times Wednesday thanks to Interleague Play. He struck out his first two times up against Guerra and bounced into an inning-ending force at second in the sixth, jamming his hand in the process.
So when Carrasco realized he'd be batting again in the ninth, he told Francona that he didn't want to swing the bat. That plan changed when Roberto Perez, his catcher, tripled to open the inning.
Carrasco followed that with a soft single to left, driving in Perez and stretching the Indians' lead to 6-1.
"I had just told Tito, 'I don't want to swing,' because I got jammed [in my last at-bat] and it was sore," Carrasco said. "When he got a triple, I knew I had to swing."
Francona was asked if he'd consider batting Carrasco in the designated hitter spot when the Indians return to Cleveland on Friday.
"That would be a no," Francona said. "But he can sure take his turn five days from now."
Despite allowing no more than two earned runs in his past two starts, Trevor Bauer (2-5, 2.53 ERA) returns to the mound Friday as the Indians open a weekend series with Kansas City looking for his first victory since April 25. He allowed four runs (two earned) and struck out eight over six innings his last time out as the Tribe fell to the Yankees. Right-hander Jason Hammel (0-4, 4.78 ERA) gets the nod for Kansas City. First pitch is slated for 7:10 p.m. ET at Progressive Field.
Andrew Wagner is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee.