CLEVELAND -- Without getting a hit or scoring a run, Carlos Santana and Francisco Lindor made an impact felt across baseball Tuesday night during the All-Star Game.
So did Indians teammate Carlos Carrasco.
The lasting memory of Major League Baseball’s midsummer trip to Cleveland will likely be manager Terry Francona and the team’s four All-Stars joining Carrasco on the field during a stirring Stand up 2 Cancer tribute before the sixth inning at Progressive Field.
Carrasco, a starting pitcher who was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia in May, held up a sign that read “I Stand.” At his side, Francona, Lindor, Santana, pitcher and All-Star Game MVP Shane Bieber and reliever Brad Hand all had signs that read “I Stand up For … Cookie.”
The crowd chanted the nickname, and Carrasco embraced his teammates in front of the third base dugout, flashing his big dimples.
“It was a message to let him know we stand up for you,” Lindor said. “As a team, as a family, we’re all next to you.
“We all believe in him, we all believe that he’s going to kick cancer’s butt and he’ll be fine.”
Carrasco revealed the diagnosis last week and the Indians said he was cleared to resume conditioning and throwing. He’s been visiting patients with pediatric leukemia at the Cleveland Clinic.
“It was truly special for me, for him, for our teammates, for Terry and for the city of Cleveland as a whole,” said Bieber, the first-time All-Star who struck out the side in the fifth inning to become the surprise MVP. “For him to be doing what he’s doing and kind of turning it over on its head and into a positive light, and spending time with the kids at the children’s hospital … that’s only something he would do.
“I’ve only known him for a year-plus, and he’s one of the best people I’ve ever met in my life.”
Indians fans have rallied around Carrasco, and #CookieStrong was trending on Twitter on Tuesday night.
“He’s handled it better than I think anybody could handle that situation,” Hand said. “I just said, ‘I love you.’ We’re all family here in baseball, especially in this clubhouse. He’s one of us. It’s tough.”
“It’s a great memory,” Santana said. “I’m going to cry for that.”
Tears interrupted the cheers that bathed the Indians all night.
They began for Francona, who was announced first as an AL coach. They grew for Santana and Lindor and returned every time an Indians player appeared.
Bieber whipped the crowd of 36,747 into a frenzy, but his teammates couldn’t do anything to make it go even crazier.
Santana, who was voted the starter at first base, was 0-for-3 with a strikeout in six innings. Lindor went 0-for-2 with a strikeout off the bench and was robbed of a hit on a smooth pickup by Brewers third baseman Mike Moustakas.
Hand inherited a 4-1 lead in the eighth, gave up two runs and finally got three outs. He struggled with his command but got Moustakas to foul out to the catcher with runners on second and third.
“I wasn’t trying to go out there and throw 35 pitches over the All-Star break, that’s for sure,” Hand said. “It was fun. I’m out there just having fun.”
That was the theme of the week.
“It was special to be at home and to be in front of the amazing fans that we have,” said Lindor, who served as an ambassador in his fourth straight trip to the All-Star Game. “It was a great event. It definitely was the best All-Star Game I’ve been to.”
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