Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley provided the power and starter Carlos Carrasco and three members of the Indians bullpen kept the explosive Baltimore Orioles offense off the board in the Tribe’s 6-0 shutout Saturday at Progressive Field.
It only added to the irony that the Indians slugged their way to victory against former teammate Ubaldo Jimenez, the right-hander who turned ¾ of a good season last year into a four-year, $50 million payday when the Orioles landed the free agent early in spring training.
Jimenez struggled from the start, lasting only 4 1/3 innings while surrendering all of the Tribe’s runs. He dished up six runs on five hits and three walks, with a bulk of the damage coming via Santana’s three-run home run in the first inning and Brantley’s two-run shot that highlighted a three-run fifth inning.
But the night was just as much about Carrasco’s resurgence, as the right-hander’s season has come full circle. After a disastrous start in which he went 0-3 with a 6.95 ERA in his first four starts as the Tribe’s No. 5 starter before being banished to the bullpen in late April, he’s been a model of consistency as a reliever. In 26 relief appearances, Carrasco went 3-1 with a save and 2.30 ERA with 39 strikes to nine walks.
Saturday’s outing marked his second since his return to the rotation, and was even more impressive than his first outing last week against the New York Yankees. Against the 69-51 Orioles, Carrasco limited the Birds to three hits over seven shutout innings, while striking out five. He has now has gone 2-0 with 12 scoreless innings in a triumphant return.