CLEVELAND -- The human baseball magnet, Carlos Carrasco, avoided a shot back to the mound Tuesday at Progressive Field, with a liner from Ehire Adrianza deflecting off his glove in the fifth inning.
It provided more evidence that on this night, the Minnesota Twins couldn’t touch the right-hander.
Carrasco, who has had more than his fair share of batted balls coming at him over the past three seasons, didn’t allow much more than Adrianza’s infield single, tossing 7 2/3 scoreless innings in the Indians’ 8-1 victory.
Carrasco recorded his fifth double-digit strikeout total of the season (11), extending his scoreless innings streak at home to 19.
Since leaving the disabled list July 6, he has gone 8-2 with a 2.13 ERA over 11 appearances (10 starts).
“He’s been terrific,” manager Terry Francona said. “Tonight, he established his fastball, went to his breaking ball and pitched really well.”
The frightening flashbacks have been prevalent for Carrasco, who missed three weeks after being struck on the right elbow by Twins first baseman Joe Mauer on June 16. He missed the entire postseason run in 2016 after fracturing his right hand on a ball off the bat of Detroit’s Ian Kinsler.
“It didn’t sound good. I was so relieved when it was his glove,” Francona said. “He turned around and told us right away that it hit his glove, but I had my momentum going that direction so I kept going just to check on him.”
Carrasco smiled when Francona and head trainer James Quinlan arrived at the mound.
“I told him I was just coming out to check his pants,” joked Francona. “It could have been mine.”
“I said between innings, if you look at it, I’m the only one that’s got a lot of line drives back to me,” Carrasco said. “I’m glad nothing happened. Everything is fine. It’s part of the game.
“After today, you think a little bit more. On the next at-bat with Adrianza, I don’t know if the first pitch I threw was a change-up. I just threw it and it went right to him, but I’ve just got to get ready there. I can’t think like that. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. I don’t know when, but it’s going to happen.”
The Indians were efficient against Twins starter Kyle Gibson, who entered the night with a 1-2 record and 3.80 ERA in four starts against Cleveland this year.
They managed only four hits over the first four innings but scored three times before chasing Gibson and breaking the game open in the sixth with four runs.
The Indians got 11 of their 14 hits from the top four in the lineup -- Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley, Jose Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion.
Lindor matched a career high with four hits and scored three times, recording his 51st multihit game -- one shy of J.D. Martinez’s AL-leading 52.
Ramirez drove in three runs -- two with a double in the decisive sixth inning -- and Encarnacion had a pair of RBI singles.
Ramirez (3-for-26) and Lindor (6-for-32) bounced back after tough road trips.
“You know they’re gonna but it’s still nice to see,” Francona said. “Frankie stayed in the middle of the field. Josey hit one ball good. Another ball he got a hit because he beat it out. I thought tonight as a team we played a good game. We ran the bases really well. Going first to third allowed us to add on.”
The Indians haven’t handled the Twins as easily as they have the rest of the Central Division, improving to 9-8 against Minnesota -- compared to a 30-11 mark against the rest.
Carrasco entered the night 1-3 with a 4.56 ERA in five starts against Minnesota.
“I was just trying to pitch a different way,” Carrasco said. “When you face a team like that six times, you have to pitch a different way.”
Cleveland, which reduced its magic number to 18, is 39-19 within the Central and 36-37 against all other opponents.