CLEVELAND — With the Indians already having to replace Mike Clevinger in the starting rotation, another starter limping back to the mound is sure to make many in the organization hold their collective breath.
But that's exactly where the Indians find themselves after Tuesday night, when Carlos Carrasco was taken out after the fourth inning in a 3-1 loss to the Miami Marlins at Progressive Field.
With two outs and a runner on first in the fourth, Marlins second baseman Neil Walker grounded a ball to first baseman Carlos Santana. The grounder went off Santana's glove, making it a closer play at first and, as Carrasco covered the base, he fell and landed on his knee.
Carrasco limped back to the mound and was checked on by trainers. After a few warm-up pitches, he stayed in the game but was taken out after the inning. The Indians (12-10) later announced Carrasco left the game with left knee discomfort.
Carrasco had been pitching well, allowing only two hits with no walks and four strikeouts in the first three innings. He told manager Terry Francona he felt good while tossing the warm-up pitches but after the inning admitted the knee was getting tight, which led to the decision to pull him.
He underwent a precautionary MRI after the game.
As soon as Carrasco exited — as in, the very next pitch — the Marlins (7-16) pounced on the Indians' beleaguered bullpen. Neil Ramirez opened the fifth inning of a 0-0 game with a high fastball that was pummeled by Marlins catcher Jorge Alfaro for a solo home run. After Isaac Galloway singled and Jon Berti walked, Curtis Granderson doubled home a run and Martin Prado made it a three-run inning with a sacrifice fly to center field.
The Indians lineup, meanwhile, was overmatched by Marlins starter Pablo Lopez, who began the game with a 5.85 ERA but took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. It wasn't until Jose Ramirez's one-out single to right field that the Indians notched a hit.
They then cut the deficit to 3-1 in the seventh on Tyler Naquin's RBI single, but reliever Adam Conley struck out Francisco Lindor with two outs and two runners on to end the inning. A promising scoring threat started by Carlos Gonzalez's single and Jason Kipnis reaching on a fielder's choice with nobody out was defused by a strikeout by Roberto Perez, a fielder's choice by Jake Bauers and Lindor going down on strikes after Naquin's single.
Sergio Romo secured the save with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at @ByRyanLewis.