The combined pitching of Indians starter Carlos Carrasco and the Tribe relief corps held the Texas Rangers to three runs in Arlington on Tuesday night. And since the Indians offense was responsible for plating four runs, that translates into another win for the defending American League champions.
Carlos Santana opened the game the right way with a leadoff home run. The Indians scored two more runs in the second on three hits and a walk, but the Rangers countered with two of their own with a Joey Gallo homer, making the score 3-2. Carrasco pitched himself into and out of trouble in the third, then bore down and retired the last nine Rangers he faced before being removed with two out in the bottom of the sixth, his pitch count approaching 80. Which doesn’t sound like a lot, but given that Carrasco had had a sore elbow in spring training, Tribe manager Terry Francona was taking no chances.
The Indians tacked on another run in the eighth inning courtesy of a two-out RBI single from Michael Brantley, making the score 4-2. And a good thing, too, because Cody Allen came out in the ninth and was greeted with consecutive doubles, the second of which, from the bat of former teammate Mike Napoli, drove in a run and put the tying run on second. Allen and Rougned Odor then had a tense at-bat which finally ended on a swinging strikeout. Allen then got pinch-hitter Jurickson Profar and Gallo to strike out as well, ending the game.
The teams face off again on Wednesday evening. Another Indians win would give them a sweep, and obviously that would be great. But the important thing is to win a series, and the Indians will depart from Arlington with a record of 2-1 even if they should lose. And as I’ve often observed, Meat Loaf taught us long ago that two out of three ain’t bad.
But three out of three is even better. Here’s hoping Danny Salazar brings his A game on Wednesday!