Santana and Aviles homer to lead Indians over Astros 2-0
HOUSTON (AP) Carlos Santana is beginning to develop a knack for hitting home runs on his birthday.
Santana celebrated his 29th birthday in style Wednesday night, hitting a solo homer to help the Indians to a 2-0 win over the Houston Astros.
It's the third home run he's hit on his birthday after knocking two out of the park on his big day in 2012. In five career games on his birthday, he's gone 6 for 8 with three homers and six RBIs.
''Every year, it's just a special day for me,'' he said. ''I don't like it too much (I'm getting) a little old - but it's a special day.''
Carlos Carrasco struck out 10 while pitching three-hit ball into the seventh inning and Mike Aviles also homered to help Cleveland to the victory.
Carrasco (1-0) walked one in 6 1-3 innings a day after signing a four-year contract.
''Boy, he came out with really explosive stuff and I think knowing how much he missed in spring training, it probably wasn't surprising that he got a little bit tired,'' manager Terry Francona said. ''But he pitched so well ... his stuff was so good. He threw his off-speed off of it. Poise, that was really nice to see.''
Santana put Cleveland up with his homer in the fourth inning and Aviles added an insurance run with his home run to the Crawford Boxes in left field in the eighth.
Cody Allen pitched a perfect ninth for his first save.
Houston starter Scott Feldman (0-1) yielded five hits and a run in 6 2-3 innings in the loss.
The Astros had trouble stringing hits together on a night when the first five batters in the lineup went 1 for 19 with 10 strikeouts. Cleanup hitter Evan Gattis was 0 for 4 with four Ks.
''You always want offense to click, but we ran into a couple of good pitchers so far,'' manager A.J. Hinch said. ''Obviously, adjustments need to be made, and we're going to score runs.''
Jason Kipnis added two hits for the Indians, who were playing without All-Star left fielder Michael Brantley, scratched before the game with stiffness in his lower back.
Pat Neshek had a tough time in his first game with the Astros, giving up the homer to Aviles followed by a single by Michael Bourn to start the eighth inning. He settled down after that, retiring the next three batters to end the inning.
Feldman had allowed two hits - both singles - before Santana's solo shot landed in the first row of the bleachers in right field with one out in the fourth inning.
Carrasco retired the first five batters before walking Jason Castro and giving up a single to Jed Lowrie. But Carrasco retired Colby Rasmus to end the threat.
Carrasco sailed through the next three innings, retiring six straight and nine of the next 10 batters. George Springer doubled with one out in the sixth, but Carrasco struck out Luis Valbuena and Evan Gattis to end the inning.
Carrasco collected his 10th strikeout when he got Chris Carter on an 83 mph curveball that ended the pitcher's night. Nick Hagadone took over and walked Castro before he was chased when Lowrie got a single on a hard-hit grounder that third baseman Chisenhall couldn't handle.
Marc Rzepczynski came in and Rasmus hit into a double play to allow the Indians to escape the jam.
Indians: RHP Josh Tomlin had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder on Wednesday in Cleveland. Dr. Mark Schickendantz removing inflammation from the AC Joint of Tomlin's shoulder. His rehabilitation is expected to take three to four months.
Francona said he was glad they got the surgery done early so that Tomlin can help the team at some point this season.
Astros: Houston reliever Josh Fields (groin) threw a simulated game on Wednesday in Florida and could go on a rehabilitation assignment soon. Starter Brad Peacock (hip surgery) is expected to start for Triple-A Fresno on Friday in his first rehabilitation game. Hinch said that he'll need several starts with Fresno to build up innings before he returns to Houston.
OF Alex Presley and RHP Alex White have both cleared waivers and been outrighted to Fresno. Presley could have elected free agency, but chose Wednesday to accept his assignment with the Grizzlies.
Indians: Right-hander Trevor Bauer will start for Cleveland on Thursday after going 1-5 in 12 road starts in 2014. The team failed to provide much run support in those games, scoring just one run in four of the losses and two in the other one.
Astros: Right-hander Asher Wojciechowski will make his major league debut on Thursday. The 26-year-old earned a spot in the rotation by posting a 1.29 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 21 innings this spring.