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Carlos Carrasco wins again at Indians stretch lead in AL Central to 10

Carlos Carrasco struck out 10 while taking a shutout into the eighth inning, winning his fourth straight start since returning from the disabled list to carry the Cleveland Indians to a 2-0 victory over the Twins on Wednesday in Minneapolis.

Brad Hand recorded the last five outs for his second save in as many attempts with the Indians, who stretched their lead over the Twins in the AL Central to 10 games and improved to 32-15 in intradivision games this season.

“It’s fun,” Hand said. “We’ve played some good baseball, so just try to keep things going and ride it out.”

Carrasco (13-5), who missed three weeks with a bruised elbow before his reinstatement on July 6, has 63 strikeouts in his last eight starts. This was his fourth turn with double-digit strikeouts, and he won his fifth straight decision. Carrasco picked up a victory with one inning of relief on July 15, right before the All-Star break.

The Indians, who won a series against the Twins for the first time in four tries this year, have allowed only 13 runs in their last six games. Their ERA against AL Central teams is 2.70 this season, the best intradivision mark in MLB. The Indians also led the major leagues in July in runs, steals and batting average.

The bullpen that has been their biggest concern? In the past nine games, Indians relievers have a collective 1.08 ERA. Hand, the two-time All-Star and Minnesota native, had 24 saves in 29 opportunities with the Padres.

Jorge Polanco, who had two of Minnesota’s five hits, singled in the fourth after Carrasco retired the first 11 batters. Joe Mauer hit his first triple of the year after an eight-pitch, two-out at-bat in the sixth, but Carrasco struck out the side.

A’s 8. Blue Jays 3: Jonathan Lucroy drove in four runs to match his season high and host Oakland completed a season sweep of Toronto. The A’s won all seven games between the two teams this year.

Franklin Barreto homered and had three RBIs and Lucroy added three hits for the A’s, who also moved into a tie with Seattle for the second wild card. The Mariners lost to Houston.

Astros 8, Mariners 3: Marwin Gonzalez hit two of visiting Houston’s four home runs, and the Astros dropped Seattle into a tie with the A’s in the wild-card race. The Mariners led the A’s by 11 games in the middle of June, but has seen the entire lead disappear in the past six weeks.

Both the Mariners and A’s are still looking up at Houston in the AL West. After a five-game losing streak, the Astros rebounded to win the final two games of the series. Houston has a five-game cushion over both teams.

Gonzalez hit a solo home run off Wade LeBlanc (6-2) with two outs in the second inning and added a two-run shot in the fourth. Jake Marisnick, recalled from the minors before the game, added a two-run shot off LeBlanc and Max Stassi greeted reliever Nick Vincent with a three-run homer in the fifth to break the game open.

Tigers 7, Reds 4: Jose Iglesias drove in three runs, Jim Adduci homered and host Detroit survived the loss of pitcher Mike Fiers to an early injury.

Fiers left after the second with a bruised left shin, sustained on a comebacker off the bat of Mason Williams. X-rays on Fiers’ shin were negative, and it was unclear whether he will make his next scheduled start.

New York Sports