CLEVELAND — Carlos Carrasco entered his 10th start of the season on a roll, taking a 12-inning scoreless streak into the series opener with Oakland at Progressive Field on Monday night.
The streak only lasted one more inning.
Jurickson Profar hit a solo home run to lead off the second and Matt Olson hit another solo shot in the third inning as Oakland beat the Indians 6-4 in front of 12,563 fans on a chilly night in Cleveland.
Carrasco lasted only five innings, allowing three runs on seven hits — four for extra bases.
“It just seemed like his stuff was a little flatter tonight than normal,” manager Terry Francona said of Carrasco, who has logged five innings or fewer in six of his 10 starts. “He just didn’t have a lot of life on his fastball. When he’s good, he’s got that good life on his fastball, then he can go to his off-speed off of that. He had a lot of close misses and just ran a ton of deep counts.”
The right-hander entered the game leading the American League in walks-per-nine innings (1.3) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (8.9), but walked two in the first two innings.
“I don’t know what was wrong with him,” catcher Roberto Perez said of Carrasco. “First inning he was throwing 95 (mph) and then he was throwing 90, 91. But he battled. He gave us five strong innings. Two solo homers. He didn’t have his velocity after the first inning but he gave us all he had.”
“I didn’t feel the way that I felt in my last game. It’s something I need to work on for my next start and we go from there,” Carrasco said.
Cleveland managed only a hit — an infield single from Carlos Santana — over the first four innings against Brett Anderson, who allowed a run on four hits before exiting with a cervical strain with one out in the sixth.
The left-hander improved to 4-0 with a 0.94 ERA in six career starts against the Indians.
“He’s a good pitcher. He’s not always stayed healthy, but when he’s out on the mound, he’s a pretty good pitcher,” Francona said of Anderson, who has been plagued by injuries the past three seasons. “I’ve seen him pitch a lot of really good games.”
The Indians scored their lone run off Anderson when Jose Ramirez started the fifth inning with a double and Oscar Mercado delivered a two-out RBI single.
Cleveland fought back against Oakland’s bullpen, scoring once in the seventh inning on a leadoff homer from Roberto Perez and again in the eighth on a two-out single from Ramirez to cut the score to 4-3.
But Tyler Clippard allowed a two-run homer to A’s third baseman Matt Chapman in the ninth that put the game away.
Chapman’s long ball wound up being a pivotal one when Francisco Lindor hit what would have been the game-tying solo homer in the bottom of the inning.
Perez’s sixth homer was his third in the last six games, with the catcher batting .286 (6-for-21) with six RBIs over the stretch.
“At the beginning of the season, it was tough for him like a lot of our guys. But he stayed at it and now that he’s hitting the ball to right field, it makes him a much more dangerous hitter,” Francona said of Perez, who has his average up to .232. “He’s probably never gonna be a .300 hitter, but when he sits back there down at the bottom of the order, he’s got pop to all fields and he can walk. When he uses right field, it just creates more pitches for him to hit and he’s a better hitter.”
“To be honest, (I’m) just not trying to do too much at the plate,” Perez said. “I’m just trying to go up there, try to be aggressive with a plan and trying to hit those mistakes, and I’ve been able to do that for the past month and stay within myself, trusting my hands and going the other way.”
Second baseman Jason Kipnis’ leadoff double in the sixth extended his streak of reaching base safely to 15 games.
Kipnis stayed at second after Santana, Jordan Luplow and Ramirez were retired on fly outs.
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