Roberto Perez’s three-run homer with two out in the seventh inning gave the Indians a 5-2 lead over the White Sox. Carrasco came out of the bullpen for the eighth inning to a standing ovation from the crowd of 17, 397 for his second appearance in the big leagues since being diagnosed with leukemia in June.
Leury Garcia and Tim Anderson greeted him with singles to start the inning, but Carrasco struck out Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada as the cheers from the crowd grew in volume. Then the White Sox hit the mute button as James McCann hit a game-tying three-run homer and rookie Eloy Jimenez followed with what proved to be the game-winning drive in Chicago’s 6-5 victory over the Tribe.
It was Jimenez’s second homer of the game and ended Chicago’s seven-game losing streak. The Indians are 7-7 against the rebuilding White Sox.
The loss dropped the Indians (80-59) to 6.5 games behind the Twins in the American League Central. The Twins (86-52) beat the Red Sox, 6-5, Tuesday night. They have not trailed the Twins by this big a deficit since July 14.
In the AL Wild Card Game race, the Rays (82-59) took a one-game lead over the Indians. The loss also put Cleveland a half-game behind the Oakland A’s (79-58).
With just 23 games in the season left the clock is running.
“We need to nail down games like this,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Carrasco appreciated the standing ovation he received as he ran in from the bullpen.
“It was great as soon as I started running to the mound," Carrasco said. “It was unbelievable.”
Unlike Sunday at Tropicana Field, when Carrasco made his first appearance since May 30, he said he was in control of his emotions.
“It was back to normal. It was great to see the fans give me the support, but it was back to normal," Carrasco said.
As for the consecutive homers by McCann and Jimenez, Carrasco said, “I made a mistake with the two homers. A hanging slider. That’s what cost us the game right there.”
Mike Clevinger, looking for his 10th win in his last 12 starts, pitched well enough to get it. But Chicago rookie Dylan Cease controlled a Tribe offense that scored 11 runs on Monday with the help of a career-high 11 strikeouts.
Clevinger, however, was still well positioned for the win except for one thing — he kept running into another White Sox rookie — Jimenez.
Jimenez countered Francisco Lindor’s sixth leadoff homer of the season with an RBI double high off the wall in center in the second to tie the score at 1-1. Yoan Moncada, who walked to start the inning, scored from first.
Clevinger struck out Jimenez in the fourth, but the two met again in the seventh. The Indians were leading, 2-1, at the time, but Jimenez changed that with a 444-foot homer into the bleachers in left center field to make it a 2-2 game. Clevinger, who struck out nine in seven innings, retired the next three White Sox to end his night.
“I feel like he knows now ... how you’re going to attack him, how you’re going to beat him," Clevinger said of Jimenez. "It’s just about execution. He’s a good enough hitter now that he knows what he’s going to get. The first at-bat, the slider hung up a little bit and it go off the wall.
“The second at-bat I threw the good slider and he swung and missed, but I felt he knew it was coming still,” he added. “The third at-bat I was kind of fatigued and I wanted to get back to the heater and I was like, ‘If I just get this slider away I’ll get him again.' Again it hung up and he’s good enough that if you hang it up in the zone, he’s going to put it out.”
Cease started the seventh with strikeouts of Yasiel Puig and Jake Bauers, but lost the strike zone as he walked Franmil Reyes and Mike Freeman to bring Perez to the plate. Perez drove a 2-0 pitch 435 feet into the left field seats for a 5-2 lead.
It was a good night for Perez, who has seen the thunder leave his bat since he hit .256 (52-for-203) with 16 homers and 36 RBI in the first half. An ankle injury just before the All-Star break and the general wear and tear of his craft has slowed his plate production, but Tuesday night Perez seemed to be the picture of health with four RBI.
Perez gave the Indians a 2-1 lead with a single in the fifth before hitting his 22nd homer of the season in the seventh. Perez started this season with 21 homers in his first four-plus seasons in the big leagues.
“We thought that was going to be the game winning hit,” Francona said.
Lindor says the Indians didn’t burn themselves when they momentarily ran down the Twins in mid-August to take a half-game lead in the AL Central.
“We’re just inconsistent,” he said over the weekend in St. Petersburg, Fla. “We’re like a heartbeat ... up and down. This is a bad time of the season to be inconsistent. We just have to be a little more consistent.”
Lindor helped the Indians get off to a consistent start by opening the first inning with his 27th homer of the season. It was not only his sixth leadoff homer of the season, but the 18th of his career. He tied Kenny Lofton for second place in franchise history behind Grady Sizemore’s 22nd. But he went hitless the rest of the night.
Carrasco (4-7) allowed four runs on four hits. Chicago’s Alex Colome retired the Indians in order in the ninth for his 26th save.
Right-hander Shane Bieber (12-7, 3.27) will face the White Sox and right-hander Ivan Nova (9-11, 4.48) on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. SportsTime Ohio and WLKR 95.3 FM will carry the game.
Bieber, who has lost his last three decisions, is 0-1 against the White Sox this year. He’s tied for second in the AL in innings pitched with 181 2/3 and ranks third in strikeouts with 224. Nova will be making his fourth start against the Indians this season. He’s 1-1 with a 2.14 ERA (five earned runs in 21 innings).