CHICAGO — His pitch count soaring in the early going along with his strikeout total, Carlos Carrasco looked as though he might be in for a rather short night.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona thought so. Turned out he was wrong, and that was just fine with him.
Carrasco struck out 11 while pitching two-hit ball over seven innings, and the Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 4-0 on Monday.
"It's hard not to look at it and go, 'Man, maybe a five-, six-inning game,'" Francona said.
Michael Brantley hit his 11th homer and the AL Central leaders took advantage of another wild outing by Lucas Giolito to win for the fifth time in six games. They improved to 4-0 against Chicago.
Carrasco (8-4) gave up singles to Kevan Smith and Charlie Tilson in the second before striking out Adam Engel to end the threat. The right-hander issued just one walk, giving him a total of two to go with 21 strikeouts while winning his past two starts.
Carrasco piled up 50 pitches in the first two innings, though he did whiff five batters. But he threw only eight pitches in the third and rolled the rest of the way.
"That was weird," he said. "But it was great ... to get back to my rhythm."
Three relievers combined to work the final two innings, with Neil Ramirez retiring all three batters in the ninth to complete the two-hitter.
Giolito (4-7) threw more balls (47) than strikes (46) in giving up four runs and four hits in five-plus innings. The 23-year-old righty walked four to bring his season total to 43 as the White Sox opened a seven-game homestand on a losing note after taking two of three at Boston.
"I'm confident in my stuff," Giolito said. "I know I throw the ball over the plate, I command my stuff, I'm going to get a lot of guys out. It's just ... don't have good feel, getting kind of frustrated, I have to do a better job of staying with myself and just letting my talent play out there."
Manager Rick Renteria said the White Sox haven't had "any more discussions" about sending Giolito to the minors. "Not at all," he added.
HURT BY WALKS
Owner of the majors' second-worst ERA coming into the game, Giolito ran into trouble in the fourth when he walked Yonder Alonso and Melky Cabrera with two outs.
Lonnie Chisenhall blooped an RBI single in front of a diving Engel in center before Yan Gomes lined a two-run double to left.
Brantley added a long drive down the right-field line in the fifth.
The Indians recalled catcher and outfielder Francisco Mejia from Triple-A Columbus and optioned right-hander Evan Marshall to the minor league club. They also released right-hander Matt Belisle from his minor league contract.
Indians: 2B Jason Kipnis was out of the lineup for the second straight game and 1B Edwin Encarnacion (ankle) for the third in a row. ... Francona said LHP Andrew Miller had his "best" bullpen session since he was placed on the 10-day disabled list in late May because of inflammation in his left knee. Miller will likely throw another one Wednesday and could start facing hitters once the team opens a nine-game homestand on Friday. ... Francona said the Indians were waiting another day to decide whether to place catcher Roberto Perez on the DL. He was hit by a pitch in the right wrist against Detroit on Sunday. ... The Indians held off on activating OF Brandon Guyer after he was hit on the wrist during a rehab game for Columbus on Sunday.
White Sox: General manager Rick Hahn said OF Avisail Garcia (strained right hamstring) will start a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Charlotte, and OF Leury Garcia (sprained left knee) is close to going on one. ... Hahn said RHP Alec Hansen (forearm) — one of Chicago's top minor league prospects — will make his season debut with Double-A Birmingham this weekend.
Indians: Plan to call up RHP Adam Plutko (3-0, 3.93 ERA) from Triple-A Columbus to pitch Tuesday night against Chicago. He has won all three starts for Cleveland this season, though he gave up five runs in a win over the White Sox on May 28.
White Sox: James Shields (1-7, 4.92) once again tries for his first win since a season-opening victory over Kansas City. The veteran right-hander is 0-7 in his past 12 starts and 13 games.