CLEVELAND -- Carlos Carrasco and Lou Marson might not finish each other's sentences, but they're clearly on the same page when serving as the Indians' battery.
"It's like he reads my mind," Carrasco said. "If I want fastball, he calls fastball. If I want slider, he knows everything."
Marson has caught 10 of Carrasco's 25 career starts. In those outings, the right-handed pitcher has a 3.09 ERA, nearly a run and a half better than Carrasco's ERA with any other catcher.
"We've been working [together] for eight years, and he knows what I want to throw," Carrasco said.
Carrasco (7-3, 3.87) has allowed just one earned run in his past three starts, spanning 21 1/3 innings, good for a 0.41 ERA. In his past seven starts, the native of Venezuela is 6-1. His six wins in that span are the most in the Major Leagues.
- 131 wins
- 121 wins
In five starts with Marson behind the plate this year, Carrasco has compiled a 2.05 ERA. In his eight starts throwing to Carlos Santana, Carrasco has a 5.03 ERA. Nevertheless, Tribe skipper Manny Acta has repeatedly said he doesn't like the idea of a personal catcher for particular pitchers.
Carrasco and Marson came up through the Philadelphia Phillies' organization. Marson said the two have played together since they were 17. At the 2009 Trade Deadline, the Indians acquired both, along with pitcher Jason Knapp and infielder Jason Donald, for pitcher Cliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco.
"I think it's just a great opportunity for us to come here and play in the big leagues," Marson said. "I don't know if we would be doing the same thing in Philadelphia if we were still there."
Smith key member of confident bullpen
CLEVELAND -- The Indians' self-proclaimed "bullpen mafia" has been keeping its enemies quiet. Joe Smith's scoreless streak might make him the don.
Smith hasn't allowed a run since May 8, a span of 15 appearances covering 14 2/3 innings.
"I've just been throwing strikes, and they've been hitting it on the ground," Smith said.
After a 1-9 stretch, the Indians have won four of six. In that span, the bullpen has tossed 16 2/3 scoreless frames.
"The bullpen has been great," reliever Frank Herrmann said. "We have a good flow going on. I think our starters have been going a little bit longer, so we haven't been stretched out lately. When you're fresh, it's easier to throw."
The Indians are 29-2 when leading after six innings.
"Since last year, they've been very, very good," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "They have been the strength of this team, without a doubt."
Tribe honors devoted father, fan
CLEVELAND -- Need an example of a devoted fan? Try Justin Laenen.
An Army helicopter pilot, Laenen is as dedicated a Cleveland Indians supporter as you'll find.
"Once he had to fly his helicopter all night, then when he got off duty in the morning, he drove nine hours to St. Louis to watch the Indians play the Cardinals," Laenen's son wrote. "As soon as the game was over, he drove nine hours to get back to Ft. Rucker. That's a true fan."
Laenen represented the Indians in Major League Baseball's inaugural "My Dad, My MVP" contest. A celebrity panel of judges and nearly 270,000 fan votes selected from more than 3,200 entries a winning father to be recognized on each Major League field prior to Sunday's games.
Laenen, from Pacific, Mo., is preparing to deploy to Afghanistan and, therefore, could not make the trip to Cleveland on Sunday. However, he said he is planning a trip to Progressive Field in August, when the Indians hope to formally recognize him.
"I don't remember ever seeing him without his Indians baseball hat," Laenen's son wrote. "We have lived in a lot of different states, but no matter where we are, he still cheers for the Tribe.
"There is only one thing that my Daddy loves more than the Tribe, and that's ME!"
By beating the Pirates on Friday and Saturday by identical 5-1 scores, the Indians won consecutive games for the first time since knocking off the Blue Jays on May 31 and June 1.
At 5-0 entering Sunday, the Indians are the only unbeaten American League team. The Rockies are 2-0, the only unscathed National League squad. Cleveland had just five victories against the NL in 2010.
Second baseman Orlando Cabrera's home run in the sixth inning on Saturday was his first since April 16, a span of 178 at-bats.
Zack Meisel is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.