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Bats and bullpen pick up Carlos Carrasco in 8-7 win over Tampa Bay

The Indians continued their early game prosperity on the offensive side of the ball with five runs off Chris Archer to hold the early edge in a tightly contested 8-7 win.

CLEVELAND – Chris Archer has beaten every team in the American League besides the Tribe.

This statement remained true on Monday.

The All-Star ace moved to 0-6 with a 6.00 ERA against the Indians after their 8-6 victory over Tampa Bay at Progressive Field.

Lonnie Chisenhall spearheaded the bats early with a three-run homer before five relievers kept the Rays offense in check and picked up Carlos Carrasco’s abbreviated start.

Wild Archer cannot contain opposing bats

Five walks and a wild pitch put Cleveland in a prime position to knock Archer out of the game after just five innings of work – 5 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 6 BB, 6 K (101 pitches, 57 strikes, 56.4%, eight groundouts, zero flyouts).

“His stuff is so good,” said manager Terry Francona after the game. “We were able to lay off because he was scattering some balls early. Fortunately, we didn’t go out of the zone too much.”

After Carlos Santana laced an RBI single and Edwin Encarnacion grounded into an RBI forceout, Chisenhall found the sweet spot and blasted a three-run homer to right field, a 367-foot shot travelling at 102.2-mph in the first frame.

“When Lonnie gets a big hit, it ends up being a crooked number which ends up probably winning the game for us,” Francona said.

Abraham Almonte tripled and scored in the second before Yan Gomes doubled in Jose Ramirez (walk) in the third to pull the home nine ahead, 7-3.

Carrasco labors through 3.2 innings, exits with trainer

The erratic command of Archer was matched by Carrasco’s three walks and two wild pitches that led to five earned runs – 3.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R/ER, 3 BB, 6 K (75 pitches, 41 strikes, 54.7%, four groundouts, one flyout).

“I didn’t do a great job,” said Carrasco. “I think the more important (thing is) we won the game. At the end of the day, that’s what we want.”

Kevin Kiermaier launched his third home run of the campaign behind a pair of RBI doubles off the bats of Logan Morrison and Evan Longoria to cut the deficit to 7-5.

The clubs exchanged runs in the eighth on a Morrison sac fly and Francisco Lindor solo home run to put the tally at 8-6.

Bullpen silences opposition

Carrasco’s early departure spelled out a heavy workload for Nick Goody, Boone Logan, Bryan Shaw, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen out of the bullpen.

“We don’t ever want to see our starters come out early,” said Logan. “We got the arms down there to pick up the innings and that’s what we did tonight.”

The quintet combined for 5.1 quality innings with Miller and Allen uncharacteristically giving up one run apiece, including a solo home run in the ninth to Peter Bourjos.

“Our biggest concern is we want Cookie to be okay,” Miller said. “I felt pretty good. I felt like I made some pitches when I needed to but I’d like to go out there and be a little crisper.”

Logan earned the win, his first of 2017.

"[Francona's] doing the same approach with [the bullpen] this year," said Logan. "It seems to be working."

Carrasco and Almonte exit due to injury

The lack of command and slight decrease in velocity forced Francona to remove Carrasco (left pectoral tightness) and Almonte (right biceps strain).

“I don’t think anybody thinks it’s anything more than [left pectoral tightness],” said Francona. “We’ll certainly look at [Carrasco] more tomorrow. I think we’ll have a much better read, but it’s hopeful that maybe a couple days could remedy that, we’ll see.”

Carrasco felt the tightness in the third inning before his removal in the fourth. Almonte re-aggravated his right biceps after injuring the area on a big swing last Wednesday.

“I give Abe a lot of credit for trying to play through that,” Francona said. “We’ll get him an MRI tomorrow just to see exactly what’s going on. But we’re going to have to shut him down for a little bit. It’s kind of inevitable that he’s going to go on the DL.”

Up next

The three-game set resumes on Tuesday at 6:10 p.m. from Progressive Field.

RHP Danny Salazar (2-3, 5.20) will make his third career start against Tampa Bay as he comes in with 13.2 innings of one-run ball already under his belt. The right-hander is averaging 13.1 K/9, the highest mark in all of baseball.

RHP Jake Odorizzi (2-2, 2.61) is scheduled for his seven appearance of the season and first vs. Cleveland since May 9, 2014. The 27-year-old has three outings without any run support in 2017.

John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.

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