Carlos Carrasco’s struggles as an Indians starter surfaced again Friday night in San Francisco, as the embattled right-handed pitcher gave up four early runs before settling in on the mound at AT&T Park.
Problem is, the four runs were plenty enough to jump start the Giants to victory, who went on to win 5-1 in a chilly first game of the weekend’s three-game series.
Carrasco dished up two first-inning runs after Angel Pagan led off with a single and Hunter Pence followed with a run-scoring triple. A walk and three batters later, Michael Morse drove in Pence with a sacrifice fly.
Although the Indians cut the deficit to a run in the third inning when Michael Bourn led off with a triple and scored on Nick Swisher’s single, Carrasco couldn’t hold the Giants pat. He allowed runs in the next two innings – including a towering fourth-inning home run to Morse that increased the host’s lead to three runs, 4-1.
After Morse’s homer, Carrasco settled in and retired the final nine hitters he faced, finishing the night having given up less hits (five) than strikeouts (six) with just one walk over six innings.
Indians reliever Josh Outman replaced Carrasco to start the seventh, but didn’t fare much better in a brief outing. The Giants needed to see just two Outman pitches (with Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Crawford swinging at the first pitche offerings) to score another run and pad their lead to lead to four runs.
Meanwhile, Giants starting pitcher Tim Hudson limited the Indians to their third-inning run, giving up four hits and two walks and striking out five to earn the win and improve to 3-1. But his modern-era franchise record of 30-innings without a walk came an end when Carlos Santana worked a pair of walks against him.
Javier Lopez eventually closed the door in the ninth for the host, but not without some drama first. A Hunter Pence error in center field allowed Indians lead off man Asdrubal Cabrera to reach base safely. Then pinch hitter Mike Aviles shot a liner up the middle for an appearant double play, but Lopez dropped the ball as well before recovering in time to nab Aviles at first for the first out.
Lopez struck out David Murphy for the second out, but pinch hitter Ryan Raburn worked a walk to put Indians at the corners for Bourn. But Bourn grounded out to first to end the game.