Carrasco struggles, Astros stop Indians 9-4
CLEVELAND (AP) — Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco came within one out of throwing a no-hitter on July 1. His subsequent start didn’t go nearly as well.
The right-hander allowed five runs in four innings Monday, including a solo homer by rookie Preston Tucker, as the Houston Astros beat Cleveland 9-4.
Carrasco (10-7) entered the evening tied for the American League lead in wins, but permitted the first five Astros to reach base, four of them scoring. He gave up 10 total hits in his shortest outing since April 14.
“They were aggressive on every pitch and were hitting everything that I threw,” said Carrasco, whose season ERA rose to 4.17. “I didn’t feel my command from the start. Sometimes when I made my pitches, they hit them, too.
“That’s baseball. You never know what will happen.”
In his last start, Carrasco had his no-hit bid broken up with two outs — and an 0-2 count — in the ninth inning when Tampa Bay’s Joey Butler singled. He threw a career-high 124 pitches and struck out a career-best 13 batters in the 8-1 victory at Tropicana Field.
Indians manager Terry Francona was not happy with what he saw from Carrasco against AL West leader Houston.
“There are days when you aren’t going to feel your best, but you’ve got to find a way,” he said sternly. “You could see it was a struggle for him right in the first inning.”
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, chosen an All-Star reserve earlier in the day, went 1 for 4 with an RBI. He extended his home hitting streak to 29 games, the second longest in franchise history behind Hal Trosky’s 31-gamer in 1936.
“Kipnis has been as good as anybody at any position this year,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “He is somebody we will game-plan against for these four days because you have to.”
Francona agreed, saying, “Jason hasn’t taken his foot off the gas this season, ever. He’s been a force, and regardless of how he hits the ball, he runs to first like his pants are on fire.”
Catcher Yan Gomes added a pair of doubles for Cleveland, while right fielder Brandon Moss had two hits and two RBIs. All of Cleveland’s damage was done against Houston left-hander Dallas Keuchel (11-3), who allowed three runs in six innings after being selected for the All-Star team.
The Indians lost their third straight game and fell to 15-24 at Progressive Field.
CHANGE OF HEART
Kipnis supports eliminating fan voting for the All-Star Game, citing the prize of home field advantage in the World Series. “This has nothing to do with me not winning the fan vote, but I hope they change it,” he said. “The All-Star Game is for the fans. They want to see the best players. I just don’t think they can always make the best choice.”
Astros 2B Jose Altuve finished first at the position.
Astros: RHP Chad Qualls (pinched nerve in neck) will begin a rehabilitation assignment Tuesday with Double A-Corpus Christi. He has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 25.
Indians: DH Nick Swisher (left knee soreness) is on the 15-day DL, while RHP Josh Tomlin (right shoulder surgery) and RHP Gavin Floyd (right elbow surgery) are on the 60-day DL.
Astros: RHP Vince Velasquez has five no-decisions in his first five big league starts, tying the all-time record shared by RHP Hideo Nomo (1995), RHP Marc Valdez (1995-1996) and RHP Chris Brock (1997).
Indians: RHP Corey Kluber is 3-1 with a 1.90 ERA in four career appearances against the Astros. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner went 7 1-3 innings in a 2-0 loss at Houston on opening day.