CLEVELAND (AP) A split-second after throwing a pitch, Carlos Carrasco was face down in the dirt, motionless on the edge of the mound.
As Indians manager Terry Francona left the dugout to check his injured starter, he braced himself for the worst. At that moment, nothing mattered but his player’s well-being.
”That’s not a good feeling,” Francona said. ”When he’s just laying there, man, that’s scary.”
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Carrasco was struck in the face by a line drive in the first inning but only sustained a bruised jaw, and Chicago’s Jose Quintana pitched six strong innings, leading the White Sox to a 4-1 win on Tuesday night.
Cleveland’s No. 2 starter, Carrasco was knocked off his feet when Melky Cabrera – the second hitter – rocketed a shot up the middle that slammed the right side of the right-hander’s face. Carrasco (1-1) luckily got a piece of his glove on the ball before it smashed him.
X-rays taken at Lutheran Hospital were negative, and Carrasco returned to Progressive Field during the game. Francona said Carrasco has a bruise, ”a pretty good one,” but was feeling well enough to do arm exercises.
”In the big picture, we dodged a really big bullet,” Francona said. ”Very fortunate.”
The White Sox scored two runs in the first after Carrasco was injured and won their third straight. Chicago is 10-24 against Cleveland since 2013.
Quintana (1-0) allowed three hits, struck out six and improved to 4-0 in 10 starts against the Indians, whose left-handed heavy lineup is struggling against left-handers.
David Robertson struck out the side in the ninth for his second save.
Jose Abreu hit his second homer in the fifth for a 4-1 lead, giving Quintana more cushion than he would need.
Cleveland managed just three hits and dropped its fourth straight.
Carrasco, making his second start, was flattened by Cabrera’s shot and stayed down on the ground in front of the mound with his legs spread wide as Francona and a trainer raced out to him.
With his concerned teammates looking on, Carrasco stayed down for several minutes. Cabrera, holding his batting helmet, came out to the side of the mound to check on Carrasco as well, and White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton dropped to one knee at second base in prayer.
”It was a very tough moment,” said Cabrera, who was relieved to learn Carrasco was not hurt seriously. ”It was real scary because it hit his face, but it’s baseball. You can’t control it once you hit the ball. I felt bad.”
Francona said Carrasco was initially not very responsive when he was being checked on, but began to come around.
”There’s a big relief, he knew where he was,” Francona said. ”Things that are more important than, `Can he pitch in five days.’ He’s OK.”
Zach McAllister replaced Carrasco, who signed a four-year, $22 million contract last week.
Carrasco’s injury is another early season blow to the Indians. On Sunday, catcher Yan Gomes was placed on the disabled list with a sprained knee and could miss two months. Also, All-Star left fielder Michael Brantley missed his fifth straight game with a bad back.
MOSS A MESS
Indians RF Brandon Moss, acquired during the off-season to give Cleveland needed power, struck out four times and is batting just .100 (2 for 20) with just one RBI. Francona remains confident Moss will come around.
”You’re going to have those days with Mossy,” he said. ”I’m as confident when it’s all said and done putting up some pretty big numbers. That’s part of the package, but when he gets hot you’ll see the other part.”
White Sox: RHP Jake Petricka (sore forearm) threw a simulated game in Arizona on Monday. Manager Robin Ventura doesn’t have an exact timetable for Petricka’s return, but the reliever could rejoin the team this weekend.
Indians: Brantley took part in pregame batting practice and Francona said the team’s best position player is ”trending in the right direction.” Brantley will likely sit out Wednesday’s game as the Indians are off Thursday and want to give him as much rest as possible. Brantley has been bothered by a stiff back since reporting to training camp in Arizona.
White Sox: LHP John Danks, who lost his season debut first start against Kansas City, has struggled against the Indians. Danks is just 5-11 with a 5.10 ERA in 22 career starts against Cleveland. Ryan Raburn is batting .333 (14 for 42) with three homers and 11 RBIs against Danks.
Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer tries to build off a dazzling season debut at Houston, when he struck out 11 and did not allow a hit in six innings. Bauer is looking to win consecutive starts for the first time in his career.