CLEVELAND -- There was a victory for the Indians on Monday night, but also a couple losses.
Cleveland opened a three-game series against Tampa Bay with an 8-7 win at Progressive Field, but right-hander Carlos Carrasco, one of the American League’s top starting pitchers this season, left prematurely with a left pectoral injury.
Carrasco, who was plagued by health issues for a large part of the 2016 season -- missing the Indians’ entire postseason run -- allowed runs in each of the innings he worked before leaving with trainer James Quinlan after surrendering an RBI single to Brad Miller with two outs in the fourth.
“His left (pectoral) area was tight. I don’t think anybody thinks it’s anything more than that,” manager Terry Francona said of Carrasco, who entered the night owning a 4-2 record and sparkling 1.86 ERA over seven starts. “He wasn’t letting it go and you start to worry a little bit. We’ll certainly look at him more (today). I think we’ll have a much better read, but it’s hopeful that maybe a couple days (off) could remedy that. We’ll see.”
Carrasco met with reporters following the game and didn’t seem overly concerned. He said he felt tightness in the early innings, with the situation worsening in the fourth.
“In the fourth inning, I felt it more,” he said. “I wasn’t able to finish my pitches and my velocity went down. It was on one pitch and every time when I throw a pitch, I felt it a little more.
“I think Tito made the right decision taking me out before it got worse, but I’m gonna be fine.”
Carrasco was asked if he thought he would miss his next start.
“Really, I don’t worry about that,” he said. “I’m just waiting until (today) and then we go from there.”
Cleveland was able to overcome Carrasco’s brief and ineffective outing thanks to plenty of early offense against Rays starter Chris Archer.
The Indians answered Tampa Bay’s one run in the first in resounding fashion in the bottom of the inning, scoring five times -- three on a towering three-run home run to right field from Lonnie Chisenhall.
“With Archer, his stuff is so good,” Francona said. “We were able to lay off, because he was scattering some balls early, and fortunately we didn’t go out of the zone too much. And then, when Lonnie gets the big hit, it ends up being a crooked number, which ends up probably winning the game for us.”
The Indians’ win not surprisingly came against Archer, who allowed seven runs (six earned) on five hits and six walks over five innings.
Cleveland is the only AL team that Archer has yet to beat in his career, falling to 0-6 in six starts. He entered the night with a 5.14 ERA in five outings against the Indians, who drafted him in the fifth round in 2006 before trading him to the Cubs after three years in their organization.
With Carrasco out, Cleveland got a big lift from its bullpen, with five relievers combining to limit the Rays to two runs over the final five innings.
After striking out the two batters he faced to end the seventh with two runners on base, Miller walked the leadoff hitter in the eighth, which led to the left-hander allowing his first run of the season in 16 appearances covering 19 innings.
Closer Cody Allen allowed a solo home run to Peter Bourjos after striking out the first two batters he faced in the ninth, but he had room to work after the Indians got an insurance run on a solo shot from Franciso Lindor -- his team-leading ninth homer -- in the eighth.
“He doesn’t just go out for one inning. He goes out for multiple innings,” Francona said of Miller. “We’ll take him. I know Cody gave up a homer. We’ll take both of them any day of the week and we’ll take our chances.
“Frankie’s ended up being huge, that solo homer.”
Carrasco wasn’t the only Indians player leaving the game with a medical issue. Outfielder Abe Almonte departed in the after aggravating a right biceps injury, with Francona saying it was likely that Almonte would be headed to the disabled list.