After one and a half innings, it looked as if the Cleveland Indians were in position to win their fourth consecutive spring training game.
After two innings, the Chicago White Sox held a commanding lead in what turned out to be a rather lopsided affair.
Carlos Carrasco gave up eight runs in the second frame as the Tribe could not manufacture enough offense to climb out of an early 8-2 rut. The road nine suffered their first defeat in four days, losing 9-5 to their divisional foes on Monday at the Camelback Ranch.
Yan Gomes homered, Daniel Robertson tripled and Edwin Encarnacion notched two RBI singles in an attempt to chip away at the large deficit.
Carrasco takes the loss
The early stages of the 2017 campaign continue to be an adjustment period for Carrasco as shown by his 14 hits and 12 earned runs allowed this spring. A three-homer second inning consisting of two-run shots off the bats of Cody Asche and Rymer Liriano and capped by Tyler Saladino's grand slam spelled the end to the disastrous outing.
"I wanted to use my fastball more," said Carrasco to reporters. "That's what I did today. Those guys got me. I'd prefer to keep all those runs here and not in the season."
In terms of command, Carrasco is doing just fine with a 69.3% strike percentage (61 strikes, 27 balls) on the pre-season, but opposing hitters have figured him out and batted .425 against him through four appearances.
"The results weren't very good," manager Terry Francona said. "It just gets to a point where you start to worry a little bit."
Too little, too late
Gomes and Encarnacion did everything they could to shrink the deficit, but nine runs from the opposing side proved to hold the upper hand.
Making his eighth start at camp, Gomes jump-started the bats with a solo home run in the second. Shortly thereafter, Robertson slashed a three-bagger to right field and Erik Gonzalez singled him home.
"He's been working so hard," said Francona in regards to the healthy Gomes. "It's just, in a game where they score eight in the second, you're kind of battling uphill."
Encarnacion anchored the middle-inning workload by lacing a pair of line-drive RBI singles in the third and fifth innings to score Brandon Guyer (walk) and Bradley Zimmer (single).
"He hit two balls right on the nose," Francona said of Encarnacion. "You get him a little competitive up there and you see what kind of hitter he is."
Yhoxian Medina furthered the comeback bid with a RBI groundout to cut the lead to 9-5, but Dan Jennings worked out of the eighth inning jam and effectively set up Blake Smith for a smooth ninth.
The Indians head back home on Tuesday to take on the San Francisco Giants at 4:05 PM ET from Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, AZ.
Josh Tomlin will toe the rubber for the second time this spring while Albert Suarez makes his first career Cactus League start (13th appearance).