Indians Pitcher Wins in First Start Since Leukemia Battle

By , 92.3 The Fan

CLEVELAND -- Carlos Carrasco was hot as his red uniform on the mound for the Indians on Sunday afternoon.

In his first start in over a year since a battle with leukemia, Carrasco went six innings with 10 strikeouts to lead Cleveland to a 9-2 win, taking its first series of the 2020 season.

Carrasco, who last started on May 30, 2019, against the White Sox, cruised in his first 3 innings of work and retired the first 10 hitters for Kansas City, including five strikeouts.

The fourth inning is where Carrasco had a bump in the road. Adalberto Mondesi got the first hit for the Royals on a double to deep left. Two batters later, catcher Salvador Perez drove in Mondesi on a base hit to centerfield as the Royals were still down 4-1.

Carrasco gave up his second run of the game in the fifth on an RBI single from Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield – making it 7-2 Cleveland.

In the seventh inning, Carrasco (1-0) reached double-digit strikeouts for the 25th time in career. Cookie struck out Kansas City’s Alex Gordon for his 10th strikeout of the game. Tying former Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer for fifth in club history.

“My emotions were strong today,” Carrasco said. “I just waited for this moment and I felt pretty good about it.

“Getting to the stadium this morning was so real, it felt great to get back into the rotation.”

Indians manager Terry Francona was proud of the way Carrasco pitch in his first start in over a year.

“You couldn’t come up with a better way to start the season,” Francona said. “He established his fastball early. And when he does that, then comes the off-speed stuff. It gave them a hard time and it was really good to see.”

Bats Weren't Afraid

Cleveland’s offense struggled in the two games against Kansas City (1-2) as the Indians combined to score four runs. That changed Sunday when the Indians broke out the bats against a bullpen day for the Royals.

Cleveland (2-1) scored early in the first inning when Franmil Reyes and Domingo Santana went back-to-back on RBI single to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.

The Indians added two more runs in the third. Jose Ramirez drove in Cesar Hernandez on an RBI single, then advance to third on a fielder error from Royals right fielder Franchy Cordero. In the next at-bat, Francisco Lindor added an RBI single to bring in Ramirez as the Indians added to their lead 4-0.

Ramirez continued Cleveland’s offensive firepower in the fourth. Yu Chang and Hernandez both reached base with a single and Ramirez knocked a three-run home run to right field to extend Cleveland’s lead to 7-1.

Ramirez added his second home run in the sixth – a solo shot to left field -- for his first multi-homer game since Sept. 24 against the Chicago White Sox last season.  

“Normally I wanted to execute and wanted to put the ball on the ball,” Ramirez said. “Everything just came together as I was preparing for the game.”

The Indians added another run to the scoreboard in the seventh with a Bradley Zimmer sacrifice fly to left field scoring Carlos Santana to cap off the 9-2 win.