CLEVELAND (AP) — The Indians’ powerful pitching is suddenly problematic.
Carlos Carrasco was pulled after four innings with an injured left leg and Miami quickly jumped on his replacement for three runs as the Marlins beat Cleveland 3-1 for their second road win Tuesday night.
Carrasco, who was coming off a 12-strikeout performance in his previous outing, got hurt when he stumbled and fell while covering first base in the fourth inning. He stayed in for two more batters but was pulled after telling manager Terry Francona his leg tightened.
Francona said Carrasco was taken for a precautionary MRI. The Indians are hoping it’s nothing serious.
“He kind of bruised it. He fell on it, but he initially felt it in the back,” Francona said. “So that’s why the medical people felt like let’s just rule everything out. Hopefully it’s just being precautionary, but we do want to get him checked out.”
The Indians are already missing starter Mike Clevinger, who is expected to be sidelined another two months with a back strain. The loss of Carrasco, a 17-game winner last season, for any period would be another blow to the three-time defending AL Central champions, who are not hitting and counting on their pitching to carry them.
Cleveland is batting an AL-worst .210 and the Indians have gotten three or fewer hits four times this season.
Miami starter Pablo López (2-3) allowed just two hits in his longest start this season and Jorge Alfaro homered on the first pitch from reliever Neil Ramírez (0-1), who replaced Carrasco.
The Marlins didn’t get their first hit until the fourth, when Brian Anderson singled with two outs. Neil Walker followed with a hard shot that first baseman Carlos Santana knocked down. He scrambled to recover it, but threw it wide of first and Carrasco tumbled and fell in the infield dirt after trying to catch the errant throw.
Carrasco took several warmup pitches, and seemed to talk his way into staying in before being replaced after the inning. Carrasco’s injury is the latest for the 32-year-old, who has missed significant time in previous seasons with assorted injuries — many of them unlucky.
“They lose their guy, he was rolling us pretty good,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “His breaking ball, he had a slider. He was painting out there pretty good. As soon you make a change, Alfaro gets the guy for a homer. We get a little action going. The next you know we got a couple of runs. “
Lopez had not gone more than 5 1/3 innings in his previous four starts, but he held the Indians without a hit until the sixth and was not charged with an earned run in 6 1/3 innings.
Lopez said a no-hitter crossed his mind.
“I’d be lying to you if I told you I wasn’t thinking about it,” Lopez said. “Of course, I had it in my mind. It was there. But at the same time, you have to take a little breath and take it one pitch at a time. You make sure you control the things you can control.”
Miami closer Sergio Romo worked the ninth for his third save, completing a three-hitter as the Marlins improved to 2-5 on the road.
TITO TURNS 60
Francona celebrated his 60th birthday on Monday with his kids and grandchildren, who gave him two gifts.
“Underwear,” he said, “and some headphones that I have no clue how to use.”
Mattingly doesn’t mind interleague play, he just wishes his roster was better suited for it.
Mattingly played his entire career in the AL, where the designated hitter is part of the game. It’s not that way in the NL, which is challenging for a team like Miami.
“We’re not really built for it yet,” he said. “With the 26th man next year, possibly there could be a situation when you have that guy on the bench that’s sitting there and you’re looking for a late-inning homer or more of that guy who just hits. It’s hard to do that with our roster. When you’re going with short benches, you need guys who are versatile, usually that’s speed and do other things on the field. So I feel a little bit in American League ballparks we’re not really set up for it.”
Marlins: LHP Jarlin García went on the paternity list and the club recalled LHP Jose Quijada from Triple-A New Orleans. Quijada has not appeared in a major league game.
Indians: OF Bradley Zimmer is making slow progress from a strained oblique sustained in training camp. Francona said Zimmer is close to taking “live swings” at the team’s year-round complex in Goodyear, Arizona.
Indians RHP Jefry Rodríguez (0-1, 3.18 ERA) will be recalled from Triple-A Columbus to make his second start and face Marlins rookie RHP Sandy Alcantara (1-2, 5.09), who has not allowed a home run in 23 innings this season.
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