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CLE@SF: Stewart comes home on fielding error

SAN FRANCISCO -- Carlos Carrasco fashioned a performance Friday night that was nearly as beautiful as the ballpark the Indians were visiting for the first time in three seasons. It was what unfolded all around Carrasco that turned the evening ugly.

Carrasco turned in a complete game against the Giants, but Carlos Santana was a complete mess at first base. With his glove and with his feet, Santana made a trio of costly blunders that tripped up the Tribe, spoiled Carrasco's effort and culminated in a 4-3 Interleague loss to San Francisco at AT&T Park.

On most nights, Carrasco could have walked away satisfied.

Not this night.

"I feel good," Carrasco said. "But we lost."

Cleveland (40-34) lost more than the game, too. In the fourth inning, Indians right fielder Shin-Soo Choo had his left thumb broken by a pitch from Giants lefty Jonathan Sanchez. Choo is headed to the disabled list and will be sidelined for an as-of-yet undetermined amount of time.

Outfielder Travis Buck has been recalled from Triple-A Columbus.

For all the Tribe's troubles of late, though, the club remains atop ther American League Central standings -- one game ahead of rival Detroit. In Interleague Play, the Indians also still boast a 7-3 record, which is tied for the most wins for an AL club against the National League.

One of the recent bright spots for Cleveland has been Carrasco.

Including Friday's showing, Carrasco has gone 6-2 with a 2.55 ERA over his past eight starts. Across his last four outings, the right-hander has relinquished just two earned runs over 29 2/3 innings. Carrasco has painted the black with his heat and kept hitters honest with an array of dancing alternatives.

"I didn't change anything," said Carrasco, who struck out four, walked none and scattered six hits. "My last four games I've done everything the same. I'm keeping it at the corners with my fastball. I'm working with my fastball first and then coming with the breaking stuff."

Carrasco did so again in San Francisco.

"Carrasco was phenomenal," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He threw the ball excellent the whole night."

The sixth inning -- marred by a pair of fielding gaffes by Santana -- included ample damage for sending Carrasco (7-4) to the loss column. The Tribe's starter induced ground balls and forced a handful of flyouts, but the result of his work was three unearned runs.

With Cleveland holding a 3-1 lead, Carrasco surrendered a leadoff single to Giants catcher Chris Stewart. Pinch-hitter Nate Schierholtz followed by chopping a pitch to the right side of the infield, where Santana had thoughts of turning a double play. Santana jumped and retrieved the ball, but threw low on the relay to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera at second base.

"The throw to second base," Acta said, "I have seen Cabrera catch tougher balls, but it wasn't a good throw. Not a good throw."

Andres Torres then delivered a single to center field to load the bases with no outs. Carrasco -- still maintaining his composure -- promptly induced a weak grounder down the first-base line off the bat of Emmanuel Burriss. Santana charged, knowing he had a force play at home plate.

Santana grabbed the roller, but fumbled the ball, which flew free of his hands and fell to the grass.

"I was running too fast, attacking to the ball," Santana said. "I felt bad. I'm trying to help my team. So, yeah, I felt bad, but I'll forget it tonight. Tomorrow is a new day."

Santana's fumble a few feet in front of the plate resulted in a run for the Giants. The pair of sacrifice flies that followed led to another two. Combined with Torres' solo homer off Carrasco in the fourth inning, that amounted to a 4-3 advantage that San Francisco (42-34) held for the duration.

Not that the Tribe did not have its chances.

Sanchez issued six walks in just 4 2/3 innings for the Giants. His back-to-back free passes to Orlando Cabrera and Asdrubal Cabrera in the first inning set up a two-run double for Santana. The hit-by-pitch to Choo later led to an RBI single for Indians third baseman Jack Hannahan.

In the fifth, Sanchez walked the bases loaded and hit the showers. Santiago Casilla entered in relief, struck out Austin Kearns to end the inning and paved the way for four more scoreless innings for the Indians.

"We didn't take enough advantage," Acta said. "We couldn't get that big hit to blow the game open against Sanchez or Casilla."

Cleveland appeared to have one last comeback in the works in the eighth inning.

Santana led off with a walk against reliever Jeremy Affeldt, forcing the Giants to dig deeper into their bullpen. With Kearns in the batter's box, right-hander Sergio Romo fired a pitch in to Stewart, who made a quick snap throw to first base. Santana was caught off too far and was ruled out while diving back into the base.

"I was safe," Santana said with a shrug. "But the umpire called me out."

It was the last folly in a forgettable night for Santana.

That made for a tough-luck loss for Carrasco.

"I'm really encouraged by the way that he continues to throw the ball," Acta said. "If we would've played better defense, it would've been a different story." Comments