ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Carlos Carrasco came within one strike of throwing the Cleveland Indians’ first no-hitter since 1981 on Wednesday night, giving up an RBI single to Joey Butler over leaping second baseman Jason Kipnis’ glove in an 8-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
For the third straight 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.
Washington’s Max Scherzer lost a perfect game with one strike to go on June 20, but he finished with a no-hitter, the second in the major leagues this season.
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 pitch over Kipnis, who jumped high in the air to make an attempt at catching the ball and fell flat to the ground as the line drive landed cleanly in the outfield.
Carrasco smiled, clapped into his glove several times and pointed at the second baseman in appreciation of his effort.
The 28-year-old right-hander 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 performance.
The last Indians’ pitcher to throw a no-hitter was Len Barker, who had a perfect game against Toronto on May 15, 1981.
For the third straight night and fourth time in seven games, the light-hitting Rays failed to get a baserunner until after the fifth inning.
Toronto’s Marco Estrada took a perfect game into the eighth inning before Logan Forsythe broke up the bid with an infield single a week ago. Sizemore broke up Cody Anderson’s pursuit of perfection with a seventh-inning home run Monday, and Curt Casali doubled for the first hit off Cleveland’s Danny Salazar in the sixth on Tuesday night.
Facing the Rays less than two weeks after yielding 10 hits over 6 2-3 innings of a 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay, Carrasco breezed into the seventh this time.
After walking Butler, Evan Longoria hit a sharp grounder to first baseman Carlos Santana, who stepped on the bag and tagged Butler out in a rundown between first and second.
Brandon Moss homered and drove in five runs for the Indians. He had a two-run double off Alex Colome (3-4) in the second and a three-run homer off C.J. Riefenhauser in the eighth. Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley and David Murphy also drove in runs for Cleveland.
Indians: Manager Terry Francona said there is no timetable for when OF Nick Swisher (knee) could return. Swisher is running in the outfield.
Rays: RHP Jake Odorizzi (oblique) gave up one run over four innings in a rehab start for Class A Charlotte. … 1B James Loney (broken left middle finger) had two hits for Charlotte and appears close to returning.
Indians: 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber (3-9) will start today’s series finale. He is 1-5 with a 4.00 ERA in nine road starts.
Rays: 2013 AL All-Star Matt Moore will make his first start since elbow ligament replacement surgery last year on Thursday. The left-hander hasn’t pitched in the majors since April 7, 2013 at Kansas City. “I’m anxious, I’m excited,” Moore said. “I feel ready.”