A premier bullpen has been able to hold the Texas Rangers offense at bay in the late innings on two different occasions to start the season.
With a 3-2 lead heading into the seventh inning, the quartet of Boone Logan, Bryan Shaw, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen combined for 3.1 innings of one-run ball to seal a 4-3 victory on Tuesday at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
On the offensive end of the ball, Carlos Santana homered and ripped an RBI single, Austin Jackson singled in a run and Michael Brantley plated a crucial insurance score to improve the Tribe's record to 2-0.
Well-disciplined approach at the plate
Aside from the aforementioned tallies of offense, the top of the Indians batting order showed a keen ability to lay off close pitches when ahead in the count. Opposing starter Martin Perez issued four of his team's five free passes, one of which came in to score.
Four of the five hitters atop manager Terry Francona's lineup walked, including Santana, who commenced the contest with an opposite-field solo shot from the right side of the plate.
"It's nice to see some guys coming out of the chute swinging the bat okay," Francona said. "I thought we did a good job early."
Jackson and Brantley were the other two players to notch a multi-hit performance with four combined singles, one run and two RBIs. Santana's home run marked the lone extra-base hit for the road nine.
Carrasco posts quality start despite limited pitch count
In the month of March, Carrasco has experienced right elbow swelling, tended to the birth of his fifth child and underwent a week-long recovery program before earning the Game 2 start.
Even with a pitch count of 80 pitches, the 30-year-old hurler allowed two runs on four hits, one walk, seven strikeouts and a hit by pitch in 5.1 innings of work.
"It was great," said Carrasco. "Every inning I feel more strong and more confident in my pitches. That's what we did all night."
The lone dent in Carrasco's ledger came in the second frame when Joey Gallo launched a two-run blast to the upper deck in right field to cut the deficit to 3-2.
"Just go over [to the mound] and do my job," Carrasco said. "I feel pretty good about myself with my body and my arm. Everything's fine."
Allen allowed doubles to the first two batters he faced, but struck out the final three Rangers to silence a feverish crowd.
"I thought Cody threw the ball really well, just maybe too many strikes," said Francona. "You could tell what kind of stuff he had because after those first two hits man, he really threw the ball well because there was no wiggle room, and he didn't need it."
The series finale between the Indians and Rangers is slated for an 8:05 pm ET first pitch from Globe Life Park in Arlington.
Danny Salazar and Cole Hamels will toe the rubber in their first starts of the 2017 campaign.