CLEVELAND — After a shaky outing in Kansas City on April 12, right-hander Carlos Carrasco said he recognized a flaw in his delivery that he felt would help him moving forward.
The results Thursday afternoon supported his case.
Carrasco tossed five shutout innings and Jordan Luplow hit his first two home runs as the Indians salvaged a split of a four-game series against Central Division rival Chicago with a 5-0 rain-shortened victory at Progressive Field.
The game was called following a 2:34 rain delay after the fifth inning.
Carrasco, who had pitched better but still allowed four earned runs in each of his last three starts, surrendered only two hits — an infield single to Jose Abreu in the first and a two-out double to former teammate Yonder Alonso in the fourth — and struck out six.
“I feel way different (over) the last five starts,” said Carrasco, who owned a 12.16 ERA over his first three outings. “The only thing I changed is the tempo. That’s what I’ve been doing right now and everything’s working well. I just started to do my delivery a little bit more quick, more fast. That’s the difference.
“Right now, even my pitches look great — slider and change-up, too.”
“I thought he was very good on a day it was a good day to miss some bats,” manager Terry Francona said of Carrasco. “The wind was blowing out kinda to center and then to right. If they got the ball in the air, they had a chance to do some damage. But he established his fastball and then he threw his breaking ball and change off that, and I thought he was really good.
“I was happy we were able to get through five (innings).”
The Indians, who ended a lengthy scoreless innings streak Wednesday night, struck early on Luplow’s first homer to lead off the second. They added another in the inning when Manny Banuelos’ wild pitch ricocheted off the backstop and toward the Chicago dugout, allowing Jake Bauers to score from second.
Luplow hit another solo shot in a three-run fifth inning. Since being recalled from Triple-A Columbus on April 29, he is batting .333 (5-for-15) with two doubles, two homers, three walks and two RBIs over eight games.
“It was really good for us and for him, I think for his confidence but also for us,” Francona said of Luplow. “He can do that. I think, now that he has done it, I think it will do a world of good for his confidence. I think he’s actually been more confident since he’s been back. You can even see it in his outfield play.”
“It felt good to get a run up on the board for the team and back Cookie up a little bit,” Luplow said of his first homer.
Luplow has been in a platoon situation, but that could change, according to Francona.
“I don’t want to be the one to cool him off,” Francona said. “I’ll look at it, but we don’t want him to be strictly a platoon guy. It’s hard though when you have three other guys that are left-handed, so, you know, we’ll see. I’m just not sure what to do right now.”
“I just realized that coming up here I need to be myself,” Luplow said. “I don’t really need to try and be someone else, try and be a Francisco Lindor and do it all. Just gotta be Jordan Luplow and I think that’s going to be good enough.”
Jose Ramirez’s single in the first inning extended his streak of reaching base safely to an AL-high 18 games.
Roberto Perez had his third multihit game, with a pair of singles. He’s batting .324 (11-for-34) with four RBIs over his last 13 games.