SAN FRANCISCO: Baseball isn't supposed to be a one-man game, but Carlos Santana had an enormous impact -- good and bad -- on the Indians' 4-3 defeat to the Giants Friday night at AT&T Park.
Unfortunately for the Tribe, more than a game was lost. Shin-Soo Choo was struck on the left hand to with a pitch in the fourth inning and sustained a fractured thumb.
""He's still at the hospital; he' going to be out for awhile,'' manager Manny Acta said. ""This is huge for us. Choo means so much not only to our offense but to our defense and by the way he runs the bases.''
Travis Buck has been called back up from Columbus to take Choo's place on the roster. It is the second time in a week that Buck has replaced an injured player.
If there was a tough-luck player besides Choo, it was Carlos Carrasco, who pitched a complete game, giving up all the runs on four hits. He walked none and struck out four. Three of the runs were unearned, because of two errors by Santana in the sixth inning.
""Carrasco was phenomenal,'' Acta said. ""He threw an eight-inning complete game on 94 pitches. Unfortunately, we didn't play good defense behind him, and we couldn't get the big hit off (Jonathan) Sanchez or (Santiago) Casilla.''
Through four innings. the Tribe carefully built a 3-0 lead, a significant advantage given San Francisco's offensively challenged lineup.
Sanchez lived up to his reputation as a pitcher who lives on the edge: good stuff, doesn't know where the ball is going.
After Grady Sizemore led off the game by striking out, Orlando Cabrera and Asdrubal Cabrera patiently drew walks and scored on Santana's double.
Santana began the fourth inning by striking out, and Sanchez hit Choo with a pitch. Choo fell to the dirt, and assistant trainer Rick Jameyson hurried to the plate and attended to the injury, first cutting off Choo's batting glove.
Shelley Duncan ran for Choo, but Austin Kearns struck out. However, Lou Marson walked and Jack Hannahan singled home Duncan with the Tribe's third run.
That turned out to be the high point of the game for the Indians.
The first indication that things were going south came in the fifth, when Sanchez walked the bases loaded with two outs and and was replaced by Casilla, who struck out Kearns.
Santiago only lasted 42/3 innings, but he threw 94 pitches, giving up only two hits but walking six.
""We didn't take enough advantage of him,'' Acta said. ""We didn't get the hit that would have blown the game open.''
Carrasco gave up a run in the fourth on Andres Torres' third home run of the year, but through five innings the only other hit he allowed was a bunt single to Torres leading off the first inning.
But good pitching by Carrasco didn't continue to translate into a scarcity of runs for the Giants. In the sixth, Chris Stewart led off with a single, and Nate Schierholtz pinch hit and slapped a ground ball toward first. Santana gloved it but threw badly to second for an error that put runners on first and second.
Torres followed with a singled to center, loading the bases and Emmanuel Burriss topped a ground ball 40 feet in front of the plate. Santana rushed in to make a play at the plate but fumbled the ball for his second error, allowing Stewart to score.
Of the errors, Acta said, ""That's going to happen. He's played good defense for us at first.''
Schierholtz took third on the play and scored when Pablo Sandoval delivered a sacrifice fly to right that put Torres on third. Aubrey Huff followed with a pop foul fly to short left.
Jack Hannahan and backpedaled, finally making the catch with his momentum carrying him toward the outfield. That allowed Torres to score the winning run after the catch.
""I was very impressed that Carrasco didn't crumble that inning,'' Acta said. ""He kept the game right there. He's maturing very fast as a pitcher.''