CLEVELAND (AP) — Carlos Carrasco needed to be nearly perfect against Stephen Strasburg.
One badly flawed inning doomed him and the Indians.
Carrasco walked three Washington hitters in the second inning, when Cleveland’s infield also failed to turn a double play, and the Indians couldn’t get anything going against Strasburg in a 4-1 loss to the Nationals on Wednesday.
The Indians managed just three hits and were shut out over seven innings by Strasburg (14-1), the Nationals’ $175 million man who began the season with 13 straight wins before he was beaten by the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 21.
Facing one of the game’s top pitchers, Carrasco (7-4) may have been a little overhyped and his wildness in the second cost him as the Nationals scored two runs — all Strasburg would need. Carrasco needed 38 pitches to get out of the second.
“Kind of lost my control,” Carrasco said. “Not too much damage, only two runs, thought it was going to be more, but I held them to two. I thought that I lost my control a little bit. That’s not good.”
Washington rookie Trea Turner drove in three runs and Daniel Murphy hit his 20th homer off Carrasco, who allowed three runs and three hits in six innings. The right-hander was good. Strasburg was just a little better.
Carrasco walked the first two batters in the second before getting Ryan Zimmerman to hit a hard grounder to shortstop Francisco Lindor. It should have been a routine double play, but second baseman Jason Kipnis dropped the ball while transferring it from his glove to his hand and the Nationals had runners at the corners. With two outs, Ben Revere battled Carrasco for 13 pitches before walking and Turner made Carrasco pay by lining a two-run single to left.
Strasburg took it from there.
“I thought coming out of the shoot he had really good stuff,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of Carrasco. “I think he was a little excited having to pitch against Strasburg, not that he has to hit against him, but it’s nice to see if you can match up. He had a little extra and it looked like it. In the inning, where I think he threw almost 40 pitches, it was a combination of falling behind, we didn’t complete the double play and Revere had an unbelievable at-bat.”
The Indians rallied for a run in the ninth and had two runners on but Nationals reliever Blake Treinen got Roberto Perez to hit into a game-ending double play for his major league save.
Strasburg walked one and struck out seven. He was never in real trouble and on the two occasions the Indians got a runner to third, Strasburg got the out he needed.
Jose Ramirez, who had two hits and reached base all three times up against Strasburg, was on third in the second when Strasburg struck out Rajai Davis to end the inning, blowing him away with a 97 mph fastball.
Ramirez got to third again with two outs in the fourth after third baseman Anthony Rendon’s throwing error. This time, Strasburg retired Davis on a slow roller to third.
“He has a lot of weapons,” Francona said. “He can throw the ball by you, fastball on both sides of the plate. He has a slider, change. He’s got everything and his fastball has a ton of ride or finish, however you want to put it. His delivery. It’s impressive.”
Indians rookie Tyler Naquin went 2 for 3 and drove in Cleveland’s only run. He leads all AL rookies with a .330 average.
HOME SWEET HOME
After being on the road most of July due to Cleveland hosting the Republican National Convention, the Indians will play 18 of their next 23 at Progressive Field. They have more home games (37) the rest if the way than any team in the majors.
Indians: RHP Zach McAllister, who has been on the disabled list since July 7 with a sore right hip, will make a rehab appearance on Thursday at Double-A Akron before the club decides whether to activate him. McAllister’s status could change if the Indians make a trade before the deadline for bullpen help.
Indians: Several current and former players, along with manager Terry Francona, will golf in a charity outing before starting a three-game series on Friday against the Oakland Athletics. RHP Trevor Bauer (7-4) will start the opener against A’s right-hander Kendall Graveman (7-6).
Nationals: Washington flies to the West Coast to open a four-game series in San Francisco. Tanner Roark (9-6) will pitch the opener against Giants ace Johnny Cueto (13-2).