Carlos Carrasco retired 15 of the first 16 hitters he faced and didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning. Guess who started for the Pirates? That’s right, the poster boy for poor run support, Paul Maholm. As he has all season, Maholm pitched well enough to win a typical game. But there has been nothing typical about the Pirates offense this season.
The Indians broke out to an early 2-0 lead. Grady Sizemore walked to start the game and went to third on Asdrubal Cabrera’s one out single. Carlos Santana lofted a fly ball that knocked in Sizemore. Austin Kearns started the second with a single. He moved to third on consecutive ground ball outs and scored on Sizemore’s two out double.
It stayed like that until the sixth. Michael McKenry broke up the no-no bid with a liner off the glove of Orlando Cabrera that was ruled a hit. One out later Jose Tabata also singled. But Carrasco whiffed Xavier Paul and Andrew McCutchen to end the threat. In the home half of the sixth, Orlando Cabrera hit a solo homer to make it 3-0.
The Pirates finally scored in the seventh. Garrett Jones doubled and scored one out later on a single from Lyle Overbay. With the potential tying run at the plate, Carrasco was lifted for Joe Smith. He retired Josh Harrison and Matt Diaz to end the inning.
The Indians put the game away with two after the stretch. Sizemore led off with a triple. Michael Brantley’s sac fly made it 4-1 and sent Maholm to the showers. Tony Watson relieved. Asdrubal Cabrera singled and stole second. With two outs, he was knocked in by Shin-Soo Choo’s single.
Including the seventh, the Cleveland bullpen retired eight of the nine hitters they faced. Tony Sipp tossed a perfect ninth to end it.
Carrasco gave up just four hits and one run in 6-1/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one. He his now 7-3. Maholm falls to 3-8. He was nicked for four earned runs in 6-1/3 innings. He yielded seven hits and two walks. He struck out three.
No complaints about Maholm.
The offense needs a 2011 version of the 2009 version of Garrett Jones to drop into the lineup seemingly out of nowhere.
Bucs fell back to .500.
Maholm is now 1-1 against the Tribe. This was Carrasco’s first appearance against Pittsburgh.
There have been three Carrasco’s in the Majors. All three were pitchers and were all active in the last ten years. The single season best for wins by a Carrasco is seven, held by D.J. Carrasco and now Carlos Carrasco.
Orlando Cabrera is one of 15 players with 2,000 career hits and an OPS+ (accoring to baseball-reference.com) of less than 90. The full list starting with the lowest OPS+
1. Larry Bowa
2. Luis Aparacio
3. Rabbit Maranville
4. Omar Vizquel
5. Bill Mazeroski
6. Orlando Cabrera
7. Frank White
8. Ozzie Smith
9. Garry Templeton
10. Doc Cramer
11. Dave Concepcion
12. Tony Taylor
13. Maury Wills
14. Bert Campaneris
15. Dick Groat
Only Maranville – who played most of his career prior to the invention of the All-Star game – and Cabrera have not been All-Stars. Four of them are in the Hall of Fame. Wills and Groat were both MVPs. Juan Pierre is less than 100 hits from joining the club. Mark Grudzielanek retired with a 90 OPS+.
Pirate pitchers have not struck out nine or more opponents in a nine inning game since whiffing ten Tigers on May 22.Pirates Prospects is FREE today in honor of the Wild Card game. You get special access to all of our content, which is typically reserved only for subscribers. We cover the Pirates 365 days a year, with live coverage all throughout the playoffs, and off-season coverage of the minor league players in the Arizona Fall League and Winter Leagues. During the season we average well over 6 articles per day on the Pirates. This is the best stop if you're a hardcore Pirates fan, and the subscription prices are very low.
Our lowest rates are $2.22 per month under our Top Prospect Plan, which also gets you a FREE copy of the 2016 Prospect Guide -- a book that features profiles on every prospect in the system. We also have a promotion with DraftKings where you can get a FREE one-year subscription to the site by signing up as a new DraftKings customer and making a $5 minimum deposit. Subscribe today for our full playoff coverage, and all of our daily coverage of the Pirates' system.