ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Carlos Carrasco was one strike away from throwing Cleveland’s first no-hitter in 34 years and already considering ways to celebrate.
A bit prematurely, it turned out.
The righthander gave up an RBI single to Joey Butler over leaping second baseman Jason Kipnis’ glove in an 8-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
“It’s part of the game. I was excited. … I started thinking about what I needed to do, throw my glove in the air or something,” Carrasco said. “It was great. I almost made it.”
For the third consecutive night, the Indians took a perfect game into the sixth inning against the Rays. This time, Carrasco retired the first 19 batters before walking Butler with one out in the seventh.
Carrasco walked Asdrubal Cabrera leading off the ninth, then struck pinch-hitter Brandon Guyer with a pitch. Grady Sizemore, also pinch hitting, grounded into a force play and Kevin Kiermaier struck out to bring Butler to the plate with a crowd of 11,394 at Tropicana Field on its feet.
Butler lined an 0-2 slider over the 5-11 Kipnis, who jumped high in the air to make an attempt at catching the line drive and fell flat to the ground.
“If Kip was 6-6, maybe [he’d have caught it],” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
“He left me a pitch to hit and I did what I could with it,” said Butler, a 29-year-old rookie who was in a 2-for-19 tailspin before that at-bat. “It’s pretty discouraging when you get no-hit. But now it kind of just looks like another loss.”
Carrasco smiled, clapped into his glove several times and pointed at the second baseman in appreciation of his effort.
The 28-year-old righthander was lifted after his career-high 124th pitch and Austin Adams got the final out. Carrasco received pats on the back and hugs in the dugout after his 13-strikeout game.