Carlos Carrasco delivered when the Indians needed him the most.
Despite losing Corey Kluber (lower back strain) to the 10-day disabled list and dropping their last two games, Carrasco and the Tribe were able to right the ship and defeat the Tigers by a score of 3-2 on Wednesday night from Comerica Park in Detroit, Mich.
Jose Ramirez dealt Detroit an insurmountable deficit with a two-run triple followed up by Jason Kipnis’ sacrifice fly to charge Matthew Boyd with three earned runs in the fourth.
Although the road nine could only notch six hits on a 58-degree evening, they did just enough to team with Carrasco and properly set up Andrew Miller and Cody Allen for the late innings.
Carrasco maintains superior form
Aside from Jim Adduci’s RBI single in the home half of the fifth, Carrasco refused to shift out of cruise control as he rolled to a final line of 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R/ER, 1 BB, 5 K (91 pitches, 60 strikes, 65.9%, six groundouts, three flyouts).
“He’s stepped up when we need him the most,” said pitching coach Mickey Callaway to reporters. “We needed a really good game pitched tonight against this really good team and he’s stepped up and got the job done. He’s been fantastic, really good job by him.”
The temporary ace of the starting rotation lived up to his new role by posting his sixth consecutive quality start and holding the top four hitters in the opposing order to a .200 (2-for-10) clip.
“I don’t think he felt great today, he came in with a fever,” manager Terry Francona said. “But I thought he did a good job. That lineup – we’ve seen what they can do – especially when you give them an opening. He limited the damage. He threw strikes.”
Miller and Allen
One characteristic outing mixed with one shaky appearance still morphed together for a similar result from the dynamic duo that has taken a step into the spotlight ever since last October's postseason run.
Miller was better than ever by hurling 20 of his 26 pitches for strikes (76.9%) en route to four strikeouts in two scoreless frames of work.
“It’s just hard when he has a seven-pitch inning not to send him back out,” said Francona of sending Miller out for a second inning. “When he’s working on some rest, to me, it makes sense.”
Despite missing with his first five pitches in the ninth, Allen was able to flip the switch and set down three of the final four hitters he faced after a leadoff walk.
“He was just jumping off the rubber a little bit,” Callaway said. “I just told him, ‘Hey, stay back, ride off that back leg and throw the ball down the middle and make them hit it.'"
The closer claimed his first career AL Reliever of the Month earlier in the day before earning his seventh save of the campaign.
“He got the save in a one-run game,” said Callaway. “He’s been outstanding. I think anytime you get those kind of experiences in those big games like that, it’s going to help you.”
A getaway day marks the finale of the four-game series as the Indians and Tigers are set for a 1:10 p.m. ET first pitch at Comerica Park.
RHP Danny Salazar (2-2, 4.34) will toe the rubber for the sixth time this year, the first of which will come against the Tigers. The 27-year-old has posted three quality starts and a 13.03 K/9 in 2017.
RHP Michael Fulmer (2-1, 3.19) is scheduled to face the Tribe after a remarkable 2016 campaign that earned him the American League Rookie of the Year Award.