Right-hander came within one out of no-hitter at Tropicana Field
By Connor Mount
ST. PETERSBURG -- On some nights, a pitcher has everything working. For Carlos Carrasco, those special nights are close to a sure thing when he visits Tropicana Field.
Igniting memories of the time he came a strike away from a no-hitter here in 2015, the Indians righty flirted again with a no-no Friday, carrying it this time for 6 2/3 innings until Logan Morrison hit a sharp single to right field in a 5-0 victory over the Rays.
Carrasco said he noticed the no-hitter brewing in the third inning, through which neither side had yielded a base knock.
"I started to remember two years ago, too. I almost did it two years ago," he said. "But at the same time, I'm trying to relax myself, and just go over there and pitch."
When all was said and done, Carrasco had gone eight innings, tying a season high, with two hits allowed, a season low, while striking out 10. He also bolstered some already lofty numbers in St. Petersburg.
In his five career appearances at Tropicana Field, Carrasco is 4-0 with a 1.11 ERA, 0.62 WHIP and .130 batting average against. The two longest hitless bids in his career have come under the Rays' dome.
"He's pretty good to begin with," manager Terry Francona said. "But … for whatever reason, whether it's the mound, whether it's the environment … Man, he goes out and pitches well."
When he comes to St. Petersburg, Carrasco pitches in front of a larger crowd cheering personally for him than he would for a normal road game. During the offseason the veteran pitcher lives about 30 minutes from the ballpark and estimated he had 40 friends and family members on hand Friday to see his latest no-hit bid.
"I think it's very special pitching here," Carrasco said.
His catcher, Yan Gomes, noticed the same thing: "He tends to do really well here. It's like a hometown thing, you see he's got a little bit of fire in him. It was awesome to see that from him."
Carrasco's cheering section might also have witnessed the start of a turnaround in results. After consecutive five-run outings in which he lasted a combined 7 1/3 innings, Carrasco earned his first win of the second half.
"I see it from the lines and stuff, but take the Boston outing," Gomes said of Carrasco's five-out performance Aug. 1. "He missed a couple pitches, next thing you know they've got five runs on the board. But he still had his stuff, it's not like he was missing some stuff or anything. He wasn't nitpicking at pitches, he just made mistakes, and paid for it.
"But seeing him like today, go eight innings and getting his confidence back, will be big for him."
Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg and covered the Indians on Friday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.