CLEVELAND (AP) Just about everybody in the ballpark wanted Carlos Carrasco to finish off his first career complete game Sunday.
Including the guy who took him out.
”He had pitched great, but I thought it was time to get him out of there,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said after Carrasco worked 8 2-3 innings and the Indians defeated the Chicago White Sox 2-0 to complete a three-game sweep.
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Carrasco (7-4) allowed four hits, struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter, extending his remarkable turnaround since rejoining the rotation last month.
However, with two on and the potential go-ahead run at the plate, Carrasco knew Francona would come to the mound and call for closer Cody Allen.
”I wanted to finish so bad,” said Carrasco, who waved toward the dugout after Jose Abreu’s two-out single in a last-ditch attempt to stay in. ”He made the right move, but I was thinking, give me one more, please.”
Adrian Nieto led off the ninth with a single before Adam Eaton hit into a forceout. Carrasco struck out Carlos Sanchez, but rookie slugger Jose Abreu’s single to left ended the day for Carrasco, who was given a standing ovation by the crowd of 17,597 as he walked to the dugout.
Allen retired Conor Gillaspie on a line drive to center for his 19th save.
Cleveland trails first-place Kansas City by five games in the AL Central, but moved within 3 1/2 games of Seattle for the second wild card.
Carrasco is 4-0 and has allowed three earned runs in 38 2-3 innings over six starts since Aug. 10. He began the season in the rotation, but was banished to the bullpen after going 0-3 with a 6.95 ERA in four starts.
”This has been so nice to see,” Francona said. ”You put a guy back in the rotation and hope for the best. It looks like he’s getting stronger with every game.”
Although Carrasco pitched well in relief, going 3-1 with a 2.30 ERA and a save in 26 appearances, no one expected this kind of success – even the pitcher himself.
”I’m surprised,” Carrasco said. ”I feel great. It’s something I have right now and I need to continue it.”
White Sox manager Robin Ventura watched his team score two runs in the series.
”That kid today was great,” Ventura said. ”He had a lot of life on his fastball. He’s throwing up there at 97-98 (mph) and his breaking stuff was great. You could see by some of the swings the movement that he had.”
Michael Brantley’s RBI single in the first put Cleveland ahead. Carlos Santana added a run-scoring groundout in the eighth.
Scott Carroll (5-10) held the Indians to two runs in seven-plus innings, but received no help from his offense. Chicago has lost 14 of 18.
Carrasco’s strong stretch began with five scoreless innings against the New York Yankees on Aug. 10, his first win as a starter since June 29, 2011, when he defeated Arizona. That broke a streak of 17 consecutive starts in which he had a loss or no-decision.
Santana drew his major league-leading 100th walk in the first inning. He’s walked 90 or more times in each of the last four seasons.
White Sox: OF Avisail Garcia got a day off. Abreu, who has been dealing with general soreness, was the DH again. Ventura expects Abreu to return to first base sometime this week.
Indians: INF-OF Mike Aviles (concussion) is increasing his activities, but there’s no timetable for his return. He was injured attempting to make a diving catch in right field Monday.
Indians: RHP Danny Salazar (6-6), coming off his first career shutout, will start Monday against the Angels. RHP Jered Weaver (15-8) pitches for Los Angeles. The game is a makeup from a June 18 rainout.