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Homers power Karns, Rays past Indians

CLEVELAND -- Asdrubal Cabrera returned to Cleveland, launched a home run and helped lead the Rays to a 4-1 victory over the Indians on Friday night at Progressive Field. Tampa Bay belted three home runs and starter Nathan Karns worked into the sixth for the win.

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The Indians (31-35) received a solid performance from starter Carlos Carrasco, who allowed three runs on 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings, but his effort went for naught. Carrasco gave up two of Tampa Bay's home runs: a solo shot to Joey Butler in the first inning and another solo blast by Cabrera in the second. Jake Elmore added a sacrifice fly off Carrasco in the seventh to give the Rays some insurance.

"Actually, [Carrasco] was pretty good," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "You never want to see the homers, but two solo homers and a sac fly. On a lot of nights, we're probably saying he pitched pretty well. We had a couple really good chances and didn't do much with it. That was kind of the game."

Video: [email protected]: Carrasco strikes out five in 6 2/3 innings

For Cabrera, it marked his first game against his former team since being traded by Cleveland last July.

Karns picked up a win for the American League East-leading Rays (39-30) by logging 5 1/3 innings, limiting the Tribe to one run on six hits and ending with four strikeouts and a walk. His lone blemish came in the first inning, when Jason Kipnis doubled and scored from third base on a wild pitch.

Video: [email protected]: Karns strikes out four, gets the win

"Karnsy was really good," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I thought after the first inning -- he looked a little out of whack falling behind some guys … threw a couple of pitches you could tell he was a little out of sync, but credit to him [for] kind of developing and maturing into a pitcher here that he's able to slow the game down a little bit and start making some pitches."

Video: [email protected]: Kiermaier makes leaping grab on warning track

Rays right fielder Steven Souza Jr. also came up big late in the win. In the bottom of the eighth, Souza made a sliding catch into foul ground on a popup from Francisco Lindor and doubled up Kipnis at first base for a highlight-reel double play.

Video: [email protected]: Souza Jr. makes nice sliding catch, turns two

In the ninth, Souza crushed a pitch from Scott Atchison to left field, where it bounced off the clock hanging over the Home Run Porch.

Video: [email protected]: Souza Jr. blasts solo homer off clock in left

Welcome back, Cabby: Cabrera spent parts of the 2007-14 seasons with the Indians before being dealt to the Nationals last summer. Now Tampa Bay's shortstop, Cabrera returned to Progressive Field for the first time as a visitor on Friday. In his first at-bat back in Cleveland, Cabrera sent a 1-0 pitch from Carrasco into the right-field seats for a solo homer in the second inning. More >

Video: [email protected]: Cabrera hits a solo homer off Carrasco in 2nd

Running wild: With one out and runners on the corners in the first inning, Karns uncorked a wild pitch. Kipnis, who led off the inning with a double and moved to third on a bunt single by Lindor, sprinted home and scored on the play to pull the game into a 1-1 tie. Karns threw two wild pitches in the inning.

Video: [email protected]: Kipnis comes home on Karns' wild pitch

Butler's blast: Cash has been singing Butler's praises since early in Spring Training and the designated hitter has continued to validate his manager's words. Friday night he put the Rays on the scoreboard with a solo home run in the first inning on a 2-0 pitch from Carrasco. It was Butler's second blast in as many games.

Down swinging: The Indians looked to have a prime scoring chance in the sixth, when Lindor and Michael Brantley opened with back-to-back singles. Karns then struck out Carlos Santana, and Rays reliever Xavier Cedeno entered and followed with consecutive strikeouts against Ryan Raburn and Brandon Moss. That kept Tampa Bay's lead at 2-1. More >

"When it starts to trend the other way, we'll all be a little happier," Francona said of his team's 1-for-9 showing with runners in scoring position. "It seems like we had a lot of innings with first and second and nobody out, and then you look up and that's the way the inning ended. I'd rather have the opportunities, but we don't seem to do much with them lately."

Video: [email protected]: Cedeno strikes out Moss to end the 6th inning

"They had fun and I had fun, it was a special night." -- Cash, on the give and take he enjoyed with his former team on Friday night

With his double in the first inning, Kipnis extended his hitting streak at Progressive Field to 23 games. That represents a record for a Cleveland batter and inched Kipnis closer to the ballpark's all-time mark. Texas' Elvis Andrus owns the longest hitting streak in Progressive Field history with a 27-game stretch that ran from Aug. 11, 2009 to May 26, 2015.

The Rays bullpen worked 3 2/3 scoreless innings, and have combined for 14 2/3 scoreless innings over their last three games.

In the seventh inning, Logan Forsythe sent a pitch from Carrasco into left field for a sure single, but tried to turn the hit into a hustle double. Brantley threw to second base, where Kipnis applied a quick tag for the out. Cash challenged the play, but the call stood following a replay review lasting three minutes, 23 seconds. The assist was Brantley's seventh of the year.

"Brantley's so good at that," Francona said. "Whether he's out or safe on the replay, that's a good play and he does that so well and he practices it. His mechanics and footwork are flawless."

Video: [email protected]: Brantley gets Forsythe trying for extra bases

Rays: Erasmo Ramirez (6-2, 4.45) will start against the Indians on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. ET, after recording his career-high sixth win on Monday against the Nationals. He has now logged wins in six of his last seven starts, posting a 2.52 ERA over that span, going 6-1 with a 2.36 ERA since April 19.

Indians: Since beginning the season 0-5 with a 5.04 ERA, Indians ace Corey Kluber has turned in a 2.25 ERA with 65 strikeouts and seven walks in 52 innings (seven starts). The righty has just a 3-3 record to show for it, though, due to extremely low run support, and will face the Rays in a 7:10 p.m. ET start at Progressive Field.

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. Bill Chastain is a reporter for Listen to his podcast.
Read More: Asdrubal Cabrera, Joey Butler, Carlos Carrasco, Steven Souza Jr., Nate Karns, Jason Kipnis