CLEVELAND (AP) – Carlos Carrasco has held Cleveland’s struggling rotation together through the season’s first two months.
Carrasco (5-2) took a shutout into the seventh in winning his third straight decision and the Indians defeated the Oakland Athletics 5-3 on Monday.
The right-hander hasn’t lost since April 28 and lowered his earned run average to 2.89 for a rotation that has the highest ERA in the AL.
“He hit the ground running and really hasn’t slowed down,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He’s built to log innings and with his stuff he should be able to do what he’s doing. I don’t think that this is just a good streak for him. He can be this kind of a pitcher.”
Carrasco missed time in spring training with a sore arm and left his May 15 start against Tampa Bay in the fourth inning because of a sore left pectoral muscle.
“You’re going to have some ups and downs and you have to fight through them,” Carrasco said. “I wasn’t worried about spring training. As soon as the season starts there’s a different mentality.”
Carrasco allowed back-to-back homers to Yander Alonso and Ryon Healy in the seventh. The right-hander gave up four hits and struck out seven.
Edwin Encarnacion, Carlos Santana and Austin Jackson hit solo homers, giving Cleveland a home run in 14 straight games.
Andrew Miller struck out the side in the eighth. Cody Allen gave up Khris Davis’ solo homer and two singles in the ninth, but struck out Trevor Plouffe and recorded his 14th save.
Daniel Mengden (0-1), recalled from Triple-A Nashville to make his first start of the season, allowed five runs in 3 1/3 innings.
“I’ve got to be better than that, especially with Carrasco pitching that well, and having Miller and Allen in the bullpen,” he said.
Cleveland’s fourth started with back-to-back homers by Santana and Encarnacion, who is showing signs of turning it around after a slow start since signing with the Indians in January. He has an eight-game hitting streak and his 10th home run of the season traveled an estimated 451 feet to dead center.
Yan Gomes had an RBI single while Jose Ramirez was 3 for 3 with a walk and two stolen bases.
Oakland center fielder Rajai Davis returned to Progressive Field for the first time since Game 7 of the World Series when he hit a two-run homer off Cubs relief ace Aroldis Chapman in the eighth inning that tied the game.
Davis, presented with his American League championship ring before the game, was 1 for 4 with a third-inning single.
Jackson homered in the third and added a sacrifice fly in the fourth. He has five RBIs in his last two games. Jackson missed three weeks this month with a sprained big toe.
Oakland second baseman Jed Lowrie committed two errors, giving the A’s a league-high 51 for the season. Oakland also dropped to 7-18 on the road.
Mengden took the rotation spot of Kendall Graveman, who is on the 10-day DL for the second time this season with a strained right shoulder.
Allen blew his first save of the season in his last outing against Cincinnati and had to work out of a jam Monday, but Francona isn’t concerned about his closer.
“In my opinion he’s one of the best in the game,” the manager said. “Sometimes you’re going to give up runs. He’s OK.”
Oakland manager Bob Melvin was an impartial observer when Davis hit his dramatic World Series homer, but was still impressed.
“It was one of those at-bats that had a ‘wow’ factor,” Melvin said. “I don’t remember where I was or what I was doing, but it was a moment that I definitely remember.”
Athletics: RHP Jesse Hahn (sprained right triceps) will make a rehab start Wednesday for Single-A Stockton against Lancaster.
Indians: OF Lonnie Chisenhall (concussion protocol) was placed on the 7-day DL on May 25.
Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray struck out a team season-high 11 over seven innings in a 4-1 win over Miami on May 24.
Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings in a May 24 no-decision against the Reds.
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