CHICAGO — Carlos Carrasco and Cleveland’s deep lineup combined for a successful Sunday in Chicago.
The bullpen almost gave it away.
Carrasco struck out nine in seven innings, and the Indians held off the White Sox for a 9-7 win.
AL Central-leading Cleveland had a 9-1 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth, and almost blew it. Run-scoring singles by Tim Anderson and Kevan Smith trimmed the Indians’ lead to 9-5 in the ninth before manager Terry Francona replaced Dan Otero with Cody Allen.
Adam Engel greeted the closer with a two-run triple before Allen struck out Nicky Delmonico and Yolmer Sanchez for his 23rd save in 26 chances.
“It was nice to see Cody come in and put it out because that would have been a rough plane ride getting on there,” Francona said.
Carrasco (14-6) allowed one run and three hits. He retired his final 16 batters.
“For whatever reason, he doesn’t have rust when he comes back,” Francona said about Carrasco, who spent nearly three weeks on the disabled list for a right elbow contusion. “Now we can use it to our advantage because he has less innings than he normally would. The tank looks like it’s full and it’s the middle of August.”
Melky Cabrera hit a three-run homer against one of his former teams, helping the Indians take two of three in the series.
Jason Kipnis and Yandy Diaz, who was called up to replace injured slugger Edwin Encarnacion, had three hits apiece.
Engel finished with three hits and three RBIs, including a solo drive in the eighth. He added another outstanding catch to his resume, robbing Yonder Alonso of a potential three-run homer with a leaping grab in center in the top half of the eighth.
He made two similar plays against the New York Yankees in Chicago’s previous series.
“The chances of there being three balls in one week that you get an opportunity to go up and bring back I feel like are slim,” Engel said. “It’s cool that it happened.”
The Indians supported Carrasco with four runs in the first and two in the second.
Alonso hit a two-out RBI single before Cabrera hit a drive to right for a 4-0 lead. Kipnis and Diaz had RBI singles in the second against Dylan Covey (4-9).
“That’s been good the whole year,” Carrasco said about the offense.
The White Sox scored their lone run off Carrasco on Daniel Palka’s groundout in the first. Carrasco has won six of his last eight starts.
Covey allowed six runs and seven hits in just 2 2/3 innings. He is 1-8 with an 8.94 ERA in his last 10 starts.
The Indians improved to 37-17 against the AL Central.
The White Sox have lost five of six.
On the move
Encarnacion was placed on the 10-day disabled list. He has a right hand contusion and some swelling in his left biceps.
Diaz was promoted from the minors. The infielder hit .293 in 98 games at Triple-A Columbus.
White Sox manager Rick Renteria said Covey, who has a 6.06 ERA, will remain in the rotation.
“We need him to gain more experience in that starter’s role, to give him a chance and develop that skill set,” Renteria said.
INDIANS: X-rays were negative for right-handed pitcherTrevor Bauer (right ankle), who was sore after being struck by a line drive in his start Saturday. Francona said he doubts the soreness would cause Bauer to miss his next start.
“He’s got an extra day anyway,” Francona said.
** Right-handed pitcher Corey Kluber (illness) was feeling better after he was sent back to the hotel on Saturday, Francona said. Kluber is expected to make his scheduled start Tuesday in Cincinnati.
INDIANS: Right-hander Mike Clevinger (7-7, 3.38 ERA) is scheduled to face Reds righty Homer Bailey (1-9, 6.19 ERA) tonight in the opener of a three-game series.
WHITE SOX: Right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (4-9, 4.30 ERA) is set to start the opener of a three-game series at Detroit tonight. Righty Artie Lewicki (0-2, 4.76 ERA) pitches for the Tigers.