The saying goes like this: "At the end of the day, we just want to be one run better than the other team."
For much of Wednesday's 2-0 win over the Twins, the Indians were exactly one run better than Minnesota. In fact, they owned the only run of the game until they scored again in the ninth on a Yan Gomes' single, but it was the first run that made all the difference because of the way Carlos Carrasco (13-5, 3.66) pitched.
There were other elements involved in the win, such as the daring baserunning of Rajai Davis and Jose Ramirez and a clutch double play started by Francisco Lindor and turned by Erik Gonzalez. But it started with Carrasco, who threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts and no walks.
"I thought Carlos was terrific," Francona. "He made them respect his fastball. . .once they have to respect his velocity, then he spins (his breaking balls) like that, it's pretty good."
Carrasco retired 11 straight before Jorge Polanco singled with two out in the fourth. He struck out the side in the sixth to give him 10 strikeouts for the day. No. 10 was a big one.
Joe Mauer, with two out, tripled into the right field corner. Carrasco, working with the 1-0 lead, stranded Mauer by striking out Eddie Rosario. The Twins left fielder came into the game with six homers and 11 RBI against the Indians this season.
Carrasco said he struck out Rosario on a curveball.
"After the strikeout, he told me he was waiting for a slider," said Carrasco. "I think this was the first time I threw a curveball, just kind of down in the dirt. That's what Gomer (catcher Yan Gomes) went to."
The Indians took the 1-0 lead in the sixth on some gutsy baserunning by Davis and Ramirez.
Davis singled off Polanco's glove at shortstop with one out. Ramirez singled to right to send Davis to third. The Indians had the ideal runners on base for a double steal. Davis entered the game with 16 steals and Ramirez with 25.
Ramirez, with Edwin Encarnacion at the plate, broke for second. As soon as he left, Davis headed for home. Catcher Mitch Garver threw to second, where Polanco tagged the foot of Ramirez as he slid past him.
Polanco turned and threw home, but Davis was already sliding across the plate. The Indians challenged the out call at second base, but replay confirmed that Ramirez was out. It's just the fourth time in 29 attempts that Ramirez has been thrown out.
Davis said his key to run was Garver.
"I'm waiting for the catcher to make the first move," he said. "Yeah (the catcher is the key). Catcher made his move, so I made mine."
Encarnacion followed with a double, but Leonys Martin, pinch-hitting for Brandon Guyer in his first appearance as an Indian, flied out to center.
Carrasco, 5-0 in his last six starts, allowed four hits. His double-digit strikeout game was his fourth of the season as he avenged losses to the Twins on June 1 and June 16.
Brad Hand, working for the second straight day, relieved Carrasco with one out and one on in the eighth. He walked Robbie Grossman, but induced newly acquired Logan Forsythe to hit a smash to short. Lindor made a stop, whirled and threw to Gonzalez at second, who made a great turn to get Forsythe at first and end the inning.
Hand finished the game for his second American League save and 26th overall. Hand, a Minneapolis native, was pitching in front of family and friends.
"It was unbelievable," said Hand of the double play. "I thought it was getting through. Just to knock it down there would have been a good play. To be able to get two (outs) in that situation is huge."
The Indians had there chances against lefty Alberto Mejia, who started on short notice after scheduled starter Lance Lynn was traded to the Yankees on Monday. Gonzalez singled and Lindor walked with one out in the third, but Davis grounded into a double play.
In the fourth, Encarnacion walked and Guyer was hit by a pitch with one out. Yonder Alonso sent a liner to right that Max Kepler caught with a dive. He got to his feet and threw to second to double up Encarnacion, who had strayed way off the bag.
Mejia, in just his fourth appearance and third start of the year, threw five scoreless innings. He allowed one hit, walked three and hit a batter.
What it means
Carrasco's double-digit strikeout game Wednesday was the 19th of his career.
Mejia threw 74 pitches, 45 (61 percent) for strikes. Carrasco threw 101 pitches, 72 (71 percent) for strikes.
New guy makes good
Martin, who made his Indians debut by pinch-hitting for Guyer in the sixth, started the ninth with a single. He advanced to third on Polanco's error and scored on Gomes broken-bat single to center.
Thanks for coming
The Indians and Twins drew 29,261 to Target Field on Wednesday afternoon. First pitch was at 1:10 p.m. with a temperature of 73 degrees.
The Indians are off Thursday before opening a seven-game homestand on Friday when the Angels visit for a three-game series. The Indians will start Mike Clevinger (7-7, 3.43), Corey Kluber (13-6, 2.76) and Shane Bieber (5-2, 4.73). The Angels are scheduled to start Jamie Barria (6-7, 3.74), Felix Pena (1-2, 5.23) and Tyler Skaggs (8-7, 3.34).