PHOENIX -- Late in January, Carlos Carrasco arrived in Arizona three weeks early for Spring Training to prepare for his first full season as a big league starter.
Half a year later and halfway through his first full season, the 24-year-old right-hander returned to Arizona on Wednesday and dominated the D-backs over seven innings in a 6-2 Indians victory.
"Carrasco was outstanding," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "On a day where our bullpen was short, he went as deep as he could and pitched outstanding."
He allowed two runs on four hits, while striking out seven and walking none. Meanwhile, the Indians hit D-backs starter Zach Duke early and often, leaving the desert with a series victory.
"I was mixing everything," Carrasco said. "And I'm throwing fastballs with more command."
Carrasco held the D-backs hitless through 3 1/3 innings before Justin Upton hit a solo home run to right field, and allowed only three hits the rest of the way. He ended his day by retiring three of the last five batters he faced on strikeouts.
"I felt good and I felt strong," he said. "When I saw the scoreboard say 80-something pitches, I knew I was coming out for the seventh inning."
In his past five starts, Carrasco is 4-1 with an ERA of 0.98, and didn't issue a walk for the second straight game. He hit two batters.
"His confidence is sky high," Acta said. "He looks out there like, 'Hey, they're not going to hit me, I'm on top of my game,' and he's been looking like that for seven or eight starts now. It's good to see."
The Indians brought their swinging shoes to Chase Field, tallying 15 hits on the day, and greeted Duke rudely -- with four runs on eight hits in the first three innings.
In the first, Cleveland scored a run after three consecutive singles when Carlos Santana drove home Orlando Cabrera.
In the second, the Indians scored two runs on four singles, with Michael Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera each collecting an RBI. In the third, Jack Hannahan drove in a run on an RBI groundout for a 4-0 lead.
"We had a good hitting plan against [Duke]," Acta said. "Guys jumped on him early and we were able to capitalize and score a couple runs right off the bat. And the very next inning, we did the same thing."
The offense was more than enough for Carrasco, and Stephen Drew's fifth home run of the season in the sixth inning, a solo shot, was the only blemish on his scorecard the rest of the afternoon.
"I think we all feel like we could've played better today," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "To Cleveland's credit, their guy threw the ball very well. They pressured us very well today. They outplayed us and they beat us soundly."
The Indians tacked on a run each in their final two at-bats on RBI singles by Travis Buck and Cabrera, respectively.
Cabrera had four hits and scored twice, while the other Cabrera, Asdrubal, recorded three hits.
"I'm just going out there and doing what I've always done my whole career," Orlando Cabrera said. "Right now, I really need to step up.
"Hopefully we can keep it going. I think that we have such great hitters that it feels weird when we don't get 10 to 14 hits a game."
Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez picked up where Carrasco left off, throwing two innings of scoreless relief to shut the door.
Cleveland put multiple runners on base in all but one inning, while eight of its nine starters recorded a hit. The team left 15 men on base.
"I thought it was a good bounceback after yesterday," Acta said. "We had a good offensive day. We left some guys on base, but we swung the bat well and it was a nice team victory."
The Indians have an off-day on Thursday before opening up a three-game series against the intrastate rival Reds in Cincinnati on Friday.
"It's not home, let's put it that way," Acta said about leaving the west coast for Ohio. "Home means Travis [Hafner] will be in, and home means we'll be in Progressive Field -- where we've done some pretty good home cooking."
Anthony Fenech is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.