Perhaps it doesn't matter, because Carrasco kept the Twins from hitting much of anything else on Tuesday as he spun a 104-pitch gem for his 16th win, shrugging off yet another dangerous line drive comebacker by a Twins batter as he led the Tribe to an 8-1 victory at Progressive Field.
With one out in the fifth inning, Twins shortstop Ehire Adrianza sent a 99.8 mph rocket back toward the mound that hit Carrasco in the glove and knocked the pitcher to the ground for an infield single.
It was deja vu for Carrasco, who spent 19 days on the disabled list after he was struck in the right elbow by a Joe Mauer line drive against Minnesota on June 16. He remained in Tuesday's game and struck out — ironically — Mauer on four pitches before also retiring Logan Forsythe on strikes to end the inning.
That was just about the only hiccup in an otherwise outstanding outing for Carrasco (16-7, 3.38 ERA) as he rebounded from an Aug. 22 loss at Boston. Carrasco tossed 7 2/3 innings, scattering four hits while walking two and striking out 11. He beat the Twins for just the second time in six starts (2-3, 3.51).
Carrasco reached double digits in strikeouts for the fifth time this season and 20th time in his career. He stranded six Minnesota baserunners and the Twins went 0-for-1 with runners in scoring position against him.
Cleveland picked up a run in the sixth behind singles from Jason Kipnis and Yan Gomes followed by the second of Greg Allen's two RBI ground outs of the night. Jose Ramirez broke the game open with a two-run double off Twins reliever Gabriel Moya, and Edwin Encarnacion added an RBI single for a 7-0 advantage.
Cleveland broke through against Twins starter Kyle Gibson (7-11, 3.79) in the bottom of the third when Francisco Lindor singled with one out and moved to third on a Michael Brantley base hit. Lindor scored on Jose Ramirez's sacrifice fly to center, and Brantley came home on Encarnacion's RBI single to left to give the Tribe a 2-0 lead.
In the fourth, Ramirez kept Carrasco's ledger clear with a fine defensive play. With two outs and a runner at first, Minnesota's Jake Cave sent a slow bouncer past the mound that Ramirez picked up with his bare hand and made an off-balance throw to retire Cave at first.
Lindor matched his career high with his fourth hit of the game on an infield single in the eighth. It's the third time this year Lindor has collected four hits in a game and the fifth time in his career he's reached the mark.
Cave spoiled Cleveland's shutout bid with a solo home run to right center against Tribe reliever Dan Otero with one out in the ninth.
What it means
Cleveland moved to a season-high 14 games ahead of Minnesota in the American League Central Division. With the win, the Tribe's magic number to clinch the division dropped to 18. Any combination of Indians wins and Twins losses that equals 18 moving forward will lock up Cleveland's third consecutive postseason appearance.
With a single and a double in his first two at-bats, Twins first baseman Joe Mauer continued to climb the the Progressive Field all-time opponents leaderboard. Mauer is now third in hits (120) behind Miguel Cabrera (123) and Paul Konerko (121). Mauer's 35th career double at Progressive Field is the most all-time, ahead of Maglio Ordonez (31) and Frank Thomas (25).
Gibson threw 103 pitches, 60 (58 percent) for strikes. Carrasco threw 104 pitches, 71 (68 percent) for strikes.
Thanks for coming
The Indians and Twins drew 19,194 to Progressive Field on Tuesday evening. First pitch was at 7:10 p.m. with a temperature of 90 degrees.
The series continues Wednesday with Twins rookie Kohl Stewart (0-1, 6.94) making his fourth career big-league start against Tribe righty Mike Clevinger (9-7, 3.30) at 7:10 p.m. SportsTime Ohio and WLKR-FM will carry the game.