PHOENIX – Chalk up another gem for Cleveland’s young Carlos Carrasco.
The 24-year-old right-hander gave up solo homers to Justin Upton and Stephen Drew, but otherwise stifled Arizona through seven innings in the Indians’ 6-2 win Wednesday as Cleveland took two of three in the interleague series.
The win, coupled with Detroit’s 16-9 loss to the Mets, put the Indians back in first place in the AL Central Division by a percentage point.
“Unbelievable,” Indians teammate Orlando Cabrera said. “Carlos, he’s been incredible the last five, six starts. When we need him, he’s just been incredible for us.”
Carrasco (8-4) gave up four hits, striking out seven with no walks, though he did hit two batters. He has allowed a combined four earned runs while going 4-1 in his last five starts, a span of 362⁄3 innings.
Manager Manny Acta said that since Carrasco came off the disabled list (right elbow inflammation) May 11, he’s been more willing to use all four of his pitches rather than just his fastball and changeup.
The young Venezuelan agreed.
“I mix up everything,” he said.
Cabrera, who delivered the deciding home run in the series opener, had a season-high four hits. He doubled, scored twice and drove in a run as the Indians won for just the third time in nine games.
Asdrubal Cabrera added three hits, including a double and an RBI single. The Indians could have made it much worse – they outhit the Diamondbacks 15-4 but stranded a season-high 15 runners.
The series victory came after the Indians scored just four runs while being swept in three games in San Francisco.
“I thought it was a very good bounce-back after yesterday (a 6-4 loss) and after the series in San Francisco,” Acta said. “Our pitching continues to be good. Carrasco was outstanding.”
The Diamondbacks play their next 10 on the road leading up to the All-Star game, to be played in Phoenix on July 12.
Carrasco held the Diamondbacks hitless until Upton’s 13th home run of the season, with one out in the fourth, cut the lead to 4-1. Drew’s homer, leading off the sixth, landed in the Cleveland bullpen down the right-field line to make it 4-2.
The Indians scored four times on eight hits off Zach Duke (1-3) in the first three innings. Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley each had RBI singles in the early flurry.
The fourth run scored on Jack Hannahan’s groundout when first baseman Juan Miranda’s throw to second for what could have been a double play hit the runner.
Consecutive singles by the Cabreras and Santana made it 1-0 in the first, then two-out RBI singles by Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera put Cleveland up 3-0 in the second.
The Indians scored off newly arrived reliever Yhency Brazoban in the eighth when Orlando Cabrera doubled and Travis Buck singled with two outs.
Cleveland made it 6-2 in the ninth off David Hernandez when Orlando Cabrera singled home Lou Marson from second, the runner barely avoiding Miguel Montero’s tag on the throw from strong-armed Gerardo Parra in left.
“I don’t think we played very good today,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. “Yeah, he (Duke) gave up nine hits in five innings but we all feel like we could have played better today. Their guy threw the ball very well. They had 15 hits and left 15 on base. They pressured us very well, they outplayed us and they beat us.”
Duke has allowed 20 runs in his last four starts, none of them longer than five innings.
“You want to see better results and for him you worry about his confidence,” Gibson said. “I talked to him a little after he came out of the game. I thought he actually threw the ball better. I didn’t feel like we were particularly sharp.”
Gibson said after the game that the team would release third baseman Melvin Mora today. The corresponding move would be made Friday, he said.
• Struggling Arizona closer J.J. Putz is expected to get some time off with what general manager Kevin Towers believes is a “dead arm.”
• Entering the game, right-handers were hitting .393 against Duke this season, lefties .115.
• Carrasco had given up four homers all season entering the game.
• This marked the eighth time Upton and brother B.J., who plays for Tampa Bay, homered on the same day.
• Arizona topped 1 million for home attendance this season.
• Miranda is hitless in his last 30 at-bats at Chase Field.
• Cleveland plays a three-game series weekend in Cincinnati to end a nine-game road trip.
• WHO: Cleveland at Cincinnati
• WHEN: Friday, 7:10 p.m.
• WHERE: Great American Ball Park
• PITCHERS: Masterson (5-6, 2.98 ERA) vs. Arroyo (7-6, 5.01)
• TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM