Carlos Carrasco glanced briefly at his right elbow Brian Burns Jersey , which no longer shows any signs of bruising.
He’s healthy and the Cleveland Indians seem to be getting better and better.
Carrasco returned from the disabled list – and returned to the win column – as Jose Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion drove in three runs apiece, leading the Indians to their fifth straight victory, 10-4 over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.
Making his first start since getting smacked with a line drive hit by Minnesota’s Joe Mauer on June 16, Carrasco (9-5) shook off two homers measuring over 900 combined feet in the first two innings. The right-hander struck out seven in 5 1/3 innings and showed minimal rust despite the layoff.
”He gave up a couple of home runs,” said shortstop Francisco Lindor, who stole home and scored three times. ”But, he settled down. He started making pitches. He started attacking guys. Throwing that curveball for a strike. He’s one of the best. He’s very successful when he’s doing those things. I’m glad he’s back.”
The AL Central-leading Indians have won eight straight home games. They improved to an MLB-best 56-21 at Progressive Field since the All-Star break last season.
Matt Olson and Dustin Fowler connected against Carrasco, but A’s couldn’t match Cleveland’s firepower and lost for just the second time in 10 games since June 25.
”They’re a hot-hitting team and when they get on a roll, a lot of good things happen,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. ”Not only do they hit, they put pressure on you on the bases, as well. That’s why they’re as good as they are.”
Carrasco’s comeback didn’t start ideally as he was quickly in a 2-0 hole.
Fowler connected on his fourth pitch, driving it 467 feet into the lower seats in right for his sixth homer this season and first of his career leading off a game.
Olson opened the second inning with a 438-foot homer into the shrubs in center field, giving him 19 this season and 43 in 157 career games – the fifth-fastest pace in MLB history. Only Rudy York (51), Mark McGwire (49), Gary Sanchez (48) and Ryan Braun (47) have been more prodigious out of the gate than Olson.
But while he struggled to locate his fastball, Carrasco used his curve to keep the A’s off-balance.
Carrasco admitted being a little jittery on a ball hit toward him, but he’s now convinced the time off could help him in the long run.
”You don’t want to go to the DL http://www.carolinapanthersteamonline.com/greg-little-jersey , miss a couple weeks in there, but at the end of the day, it’s going to be worth it,” he said. ”From now to the last game of the season, I’m just going to go every five days, take care of myself, then we’ll see in the end.”
Oakland closed to 6-4 in the seventh and had the bases loaded with two out. But Neil Ramirez struck out A’s cleanup hitter Khris Davis to end the threat.
The Indians then put it away with four runs in the bottom half, highlighted by Lindor swiping home on the back end of a double steal. With one out, Ramirez broke for second and Lindor waited for catcher Jonathan’s Lucroy’s throw to go through before taking off and scoring with a headfirst slide.
”As soon as I become a runner, I’m trying to score,” Lindor said. ”As soon as I saw him (Lucroy) stand up and see the ball’s rotation, I just took off.”
Carrasco’s season nearly took a dramatic turn for the worst when he was struck by Mauer’s wicked comebacker. Luckily, he escaped with just a bad bruise and manager Terry Francona felt fortunate to have his No. 2 starter back.
”When I saw him, my eyes lit up,” Francona said before the game. ”He’s one of our mainstays.”
RUN, EDWIN, RUN
Encarnacion ignored third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh’s signal to stop and scored on Jason Kipnis‘ RBI single in the second.
It was his only option.
”I was coming hot,” the slugger said with a smile. ”Too late Will Grier Jersey , I couldn’t stop.”
The Indians have scored 10 or more runs an AL-high 11 times this season.
Athletics: LHP Brett Anderson (strained shoulder) threw a pregame bullpen session and could be activated this weekend. The 30-year-old has been on the disabled list since May 19.
Indians: Francona said OF Lonnie Chisenhall will miss ”considerable time” with his strained left calf. He was placed on the disabled list Tuesday in Kansas City. Francona said the club should have a better sense of how long Chisenhall will be out once he is seen by team doctors.
Corey Kluber, who is 7-1 with a 1.60 ERA at home, tries to become the first Cleveland pitcher to win 13 games before the All-Star break since Gaylord Perry (15) in 1974. Oakland’s Edwin Jackson pitched into the seventh and beat the Indians on June 30.
The only thing that Saquon Barkley has to prove at the NFL combine this week is that he’s every bit as good as advertised.
”For a guy like Barkley who has worked so hard to develop his gifts, I mean, for him it ought to be a victory celebration. It really should,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. ”You got to come in and knock it down, one drill after another.
”He’s going to walk out of there four days later and everyone’s going to go: `Wow, he’s just as good or better than we thought he was.”’
Then, there would be no doubt that a running back will go in the top five picks of the draft for the third consecutive year, joining Ezekiel Elliott in 2016 and Leonard Fournette in 2017.
The Penn State star might even be the first running back selected in the top two picks since Reggie Bush in 2006 or even the first to go No. 1 overall since another Nittany Lion, Ki-Jana Carter, in 1995.
”I’m just focused on coming out here and trying to dominate this combine,” Barkley said.
Everyone expects him to do just that.
General managers and coaches know all about the 5-foot-11, 233-pound back with a magnificent medley of jaw-dropping quickness and excellent acceleration, speed, balance, vision and power to go with an off-the-charts work ethic who helped Penn State dismantle Washington’s vaunted defense in the Fiesta Bowl .
Mayock said Barkley will dazzle teams even when he’s not on his feet.
”When he goes into meetings at night,” Mayock said http://www.carolinapanthersteamonline.com/christian-miller-jersey , ”he’s going to blow people away.”
Barkley, who grew up boxing like his father and great uncle but was always drawn more to the gridiron than the ring, quickly rose to national prominence as one of the country’s most dynamic players as a true freshman at Penn State in 2015.
He flashed a frenetic running style to compile a lengthy highlight reel full of hurdles, spin moves and jukes on his way to a program-best 43 rushing touchdowns in three years.
Mayock said Barkley is at least equal to the last four top-10 running backs – Fournette, Elliott, Todd Gurley and Christian McCaffrey – all of whom made their teams significantly better as rookies.
”I could make the case that this kid Barkley is the best of those guys, best of all five of them,” Mayock said. ”He’s clean off the field. And he’ll be great in your locker room. I would be absolutely stunned if this kid doesn’t go in the Top 5.”
The Browns, Giants and Colts own the top three picks in next month’s draft. Cleveland also owns No. 4 and Denver has the fifth selection.
”Any team that wants to draft me,” Barkley said, ”is a blessing to me.”
Barkley said he embraces the chance to transform a downtrodden team like the Browns, who have one win in two years, or the Giants, coming off a down year: ”You want to be part of something like that, something that’s bigger than yourself.”
Whoever ends up choosing Barkley can expect to be picking a lot later in next year’s draft. (Fournette’s Jaguars are picking 29th this year, five picks after McCaffrey’s Panthers).
Barkley averaged nearly 6 yards a carry as a junior in State College, rushing for 1,271 yards and 18 touchdowns and catching 54 passes for 632 yards and three TDs. He also completed two passes – one for a score – and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns.
He won the Paul Hornung Award as college football’s most versatile player and left Penn State after his junior year just 89 yards shy of the program rushing record with 3 Jordan Scarlett Jersey ,843 yards.
”I feel whether I’m running the ball from the 99-yard line or the 1-yard line that I can find a way to get into the end zone. I can do it all, I feel like,” Barkley said. ”I can go over the top of you, I can beat you with speed, I can beat you with some wiggle, I could run through you.”
That may come off as boastful, but not when Barkley says it.
He said he watches all of today’s great NFL running backs but models his game after none of them.
”I’ve never wanted to be like anybody,” Barkley said. ”That’s something that my dad taught me growing up: `Never want to be like someone, be the next you.’ But I am a fan of the game, I’m a fan of the position and I watch everyone.”
Including Barry Sanders on YouTube .
If he had to pick anyone he’d like to be like, it’d be the Lions’ Hall of Famer.
”That was a great guy that I looked up to growing up not only on the field – off the field. The way he carried himself, he was humble,” Barkley said. ”When he scored a touchdown, he’d give the ball to the ref. If you look at his football life, he’s carrying cups to his offensive linemen, and I think that’s what a running back should be about. That’s what our position should be about and I try to model myself after that.”