CLEVELAND — Right-hander Carlos Carrasco left the series opener against Miami prior to the fifth inning Tuesday night after taking a tumble while covering first base in the fourth.
He took the Indians’ chances of winning with him.
Neil Ramirez replaced Carrasco and served up a solo home run to Jorge Alfaro on his first pitch and the lowly Marlins added on from there to beat Cleveland 3-1 in front of 12,963 fans at Progressive Field.
Manager Terry Francona said following the game that Carrasco, who left with left knee discomfort, would undergo a precautionary MRI.
“He kind of bruised it, you know he fell on it but he initially felt it in the back (of the knee), so that’s why the medical people felt like, ‘Let’s just rule everything out,’” Francona said. “Hopefully it’s just being precautionary, but we do want to get him checked out.”
The Indians are already without a member of their top-shelf rotation in right-hander Mike Clevinger, who is on the injured list with a right upper-back strain and isn’t expected to return until the end of June or early July.
Like Carrasco, Clevinger underwent what was termed a precautionary MRI.
It’s been an inconsistent start to the season for Carrasco, but he was en route to working his second straight effective outing. He retired the first 11 batters — four on strikeouts — before Miami notched its first hit on a two-out single from Brian Anderson in the fourth inning.
Neil Walker followed with a sharp grounder that first baseman Carlos Santana knocked down. Santana threw errantly to Carrasco, who moved into the path of Walker down the line and fell on his knee.
After being tended to by Francona and trainers, Carrasco threw a few warm-up pitches and stayed in the game to retire the following batter to end the inning.
“He threw the first (warm-up) pitch and it didn’t look great, but he goes, ‘I’m fine,’ and I said, ‘Hey, you need to be honest with us,’” Francona said. “And then after that inning he came and said, ‘I’m getting tight,’ so we got him out of there.”
“The first reaction was that he was hurt,” catcher Roberto Perez said. “It was a tough play. You don’t want to see any of your pitchers going down like that. I thought he was throwing the ball really good, but unfortunately he gotta come out of the game.”
Even if Carrasco had kept pitching, the Indians would have been hard-pressed to get the win after going without a hit over the first five innings off right-hander Pablo Lopez, who entered with a 5.85 ERA in four starts.
The Indians managed an unearned run, two hits and two walks off Lopez over 6 1/3 innings, and only three hits for the game.
“He beat us with his fastball up and his change-up down and he was spinning it occasionally, but then he just kind of consistently beat us with his fastball,” Francona said.
Lopez entered the night with left-handed hitters batting .360 off him, but the eight Indians hitters who hit left-handed went 2-for-16 against him.
Perez, the only right-handed hitter in the lineup, struck out twice and was hit by a pitch in his three plate appearances against Lopez.
“It was his night tonight,” Perez said. “He attacked us, he got ahead of us and we just couldn’t capitalize with men in scoring position or whenever we had something going.”
It was the third straight loss for Cleveland, while Miami recorded just its second road win in seven games. The Marlins had been outscored 31-8 away from home prior to Tuesday.
Ramirez allowed all of Miami’s runs in the fifth, failing to retire four of the first five hitters he faced.
“I’m sure in that situation he’s not thinking he’s coming into the game because Carrasco only had 50-some pitches,” Perez said. “I don’t know if he had enough time to get ready, it happened too quick. I’m sure it’s hard.”
Francisco Lindor was in the lineup for the third time since leaving the injured list, going hitless in four at-bats and striking out twice. He is 2-for-13 in three games.