Carlos Carrasco likes pitching in Tropicana Field, and it showed again Wednesday night when he handcuffed Rays hitters in a 4-1 Indians win.
Carrasco almost threw a no-hitter against the Rays on July 1, 2015, when Joey Butler broke it up with two outs in the ninth. The no-hit drama ended early Wednesday night when Logan Morrison singled with one out in the fourth, but that didn't stop Carrasco from continuing his brilliance as he allowed only an RBI double to Curt Casali in the eighth en route to his first win of the season.
"He really pitched well, and he needed to," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We made the most out of five hits."
Drew Smyly started for the Rays and, like Carrasco, was perfect through three innings. ButRajai Davis doubled to open the Indians' fourth and scored on a groundout. The Indians added two more on Carlos Santana's sacrifice fly that saw Logan Forsythe's throwing error allow a second run to score, putting the Indians up 3-0.
"Another well-pitched game," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Carrasco was outstanding. Drew threw the ball really well. We just kind of came up on the short end of the stick tonight, whereas maybe they did last night."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Hustle double: Davis turned a flair off Brad Miller's glove that landed in shallow left field into a double to start the fourth inning. Two batters later, Davis scored from third base whenFrancisco Lindor grounded into a forceout, with Miller retiring Kipnis at second. Before Davis' hit, Smyly had retired nine consecutive batters with five strikeouts. It was the start of the Indians' three-run inning.
Costly error: When Santana sent a shallow fly to right field with runners on second and third and one out in the fourth, the placement proved strategic for the Indians as three Rays fielders converged on the ball. Forsythe made the catch, but while attempting to make a play at home, he overthrew Casali. Lindor scored from third on the sacrifice fly, while Mike Napolicame across as the third run thanks to Forsythe's error.
Smyly backed up Casali at home, but he wasn't able to come up with the throw, which left the field.
"That was just a weird play," Smyly said. "Felt like I was going to catch it the entire way, and then at the end, Curt jumped up and was coming down hard. Kind of messed up my vision and it went right underneath my glove. I should have backed that up."
Trop touch: Carrasco continued his mastery of the Rays at Tropicana Field by going eight innings, allowing one run on four hits with eight strikeouts and one walk. He entered Wednesday unbeaten in three career appearances at the ballpark, with a 2-0 record and a 1.65 ERA. He allowed one run and one hit in 8 2/3 innings in his most recent start at the site on July 1, 2015.
"Every time I come here," Carrasco said, "we play good." More >
Tough luck for Smyly: Smyly pitched well enough to win Wednesday night. The Rays' left-hander allowed just two earned runs on three hits with a walk in seven innings. He also tied a career high with 11 strikeouts. Still, he came away with his second loss of the season. More >
QUOTABLE "Every time that ball hits one of those catwalks, I pull for them to get a new stadium." -- Francona, referencing a foul ball from Desmond Jennings that landed in the B-ring catwalk in foul territory with two outs in the ninth inning. It was ruled a dead ball.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS No Rays homered Wednesday night, which snapped a club-record streak of 21 consecutive games in which the Rays had homered. That streak dated back to Sept. 20, 2015, against the Orioles.
UNDER REVIEW Casali tried to score from second on a Forsythe single in the bottom of the eighth, but he was called out at the plate. Casali thought he was safe, prompting Rays manager Kevin Cash to challenge the call. After a 1-minute 20-second review, the call on the field was confirmed.
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: Cleveland will rely on right-hander Danny Salazar to close the series at 1:10 p.m. ET Thursday at Tropicana Field. In his season debut against the White Sox last Friday at U.S. Cellular Field, he allowed one run on two hits with seven strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He enjoyed success at American League East ballparks last year, going 3-1 with three quality starts.
Rays:Chris Archer will try and get on track in his third start of the season after pitching just five innings in each of his first two outings. The Rays' ace struck out 12 batters in his first start of the season against Toronto, but he struggled with his fastball command in his last outing at Baltimore. His last win came on Aug. 31.