Riding the strength of Carlos Carrasco's fifth consecutive quality start, the Indians got their first series win since sweeping the Pirates at Progressive Field two weeks ago. Arizona sent Zach Duke to the mound, a pitcher who was once considered a potential cornerstone of Pittsburgh's organization. Following his breakout 2005 season, many thought Duke might have the magic Moyer mix of smarts, guile, and underwhelming stuff (it's actually a tale as old as time, or at least as old as Jeremy Sowers). Six years later, Duke has to be nearing then end of his run as a starter in the majors and the Indians, thankfully, treated him as such. They scored on Duke in each of the first three innings and he was lifted from the game after just five.
For Carrasco's part, he managed to go seven extremely strong innings—he carried a no-hitter into the fourth and surrendered only two runs all day, each on solo home runs. Carlos matched his season high for strikeouts, fanning seven Diamondbacks, the same number of Yankees he whiffed on June 13. After Orlando Cabrera scored in the top of the first on a Carlos Santana single, the Indians never surrendered the lead and, for the most part, the game never seemed in doubt. Orlando had a big offensive day, gathering four hits in six at bats. The second star goes to Asdrubal, who went three for five with a double. Buck and Marson also had nice days at the plate, each picking up a pair of hits with a double.
Vinnie Pestano held down the eighth and looked like himself, striking out Kelly Johnson on his way to a 1-2-3 inning. Chris Perez got a little bit of work, in anticipation of tomorrow's off day, and started off shaky again, getting a loud flyout off the bat of Chris Young and walking Miguel Montero before settling down and popping up Ryan Roberts and Juan Miranda to end the game.
Overall, it was a game that felt 'safe' from nearly start to finish. Carrasco was clearly on top of his game and only once after the second inning did the Diamondbacks bring the tying run to the plate, when Wily Mo Pena stepped in as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the seventh following a Gerardo Parra double. Carrasco got Mo Pena (is that right?) to strike out on a foul tip, keeping the score at 4-2 and ending the last real threat the Diamondbacks would have. Insurance runs in the eighth and ninth innings gave Pestano and Perez a little breathing room to ensure the Indians left the desert on a high note.
After an off day tomorrow, the Indians will travel to Cincinnati for a three game set over the weekend. Following the conclusion of the BATTLE FOR OHIO (and the end of interleague play), the Tribe will return home for a seven game homestand. It will be the first games at Progressive Field since June 22. When you next see the Indians, they'll send Ace by Default Justin Masterson (2.98 ERA) to the mound to face the scuffling Bronson Arroyo (5.01 ERA).
C. Carrasco (hitter)