Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco applauded by both teams in return to mound from leukemia

ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 01: Carlos Carrasco #59 of the Cleveland Indians hugs teammate Francisco Lindor #12 after taking the big league mound for the first time since May 30 at Tropicana Field on September 01, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Carlos Carrasco made his return to the mound from leukemia Sunday and the Cleveland Indians pitcher was applauded by both teams in a touching scene during Tampa Bay’s 8-2 victory that completed a three-game sweep.

The right-hander entered in the seventh inning for his first major league appearance since being diagnosed with a treatable form of leukemia in June. He received a standing ovation from the Tropicana Field crowd, and players from both sides cheered while standing in front of their respective dugouts.

Indians star shortstop Francisco Lindor went to the mound and hugged an emotional Carrasco, who was activated before the game following several minor league rehab outings.

Normally a starter, Carrasco is expected to pitch in relief for the Indians as they chase a playoff spot down the stretch. He worked one inning and gave up two hits, including Travis d’Arnaud’s run-scoring single.

ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 01: Carlos Carrasco #59 of the Cleveland Indians pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the seventh inning of a baseball game at Tropicana Field on September 01, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Charlie Morton earned his 14th win and d’Arnaud had two RBIs off the bench as Tampa Bay swept a critical series between postseason contenders. The Rays and Indians are in a tight race with Oakland for the two American League wild cards.

Morton (14-6) allowed one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out eight, walked three and threw a season-high 108 pitches.

Nate Lowe hit a two-run homer for the Rays, who moved a half-game ahead of Cleveland for the top AL wild card.

Tampa Bay went up 4-1 in the fifth on d’Arnaud’s pinch-hit RBI double that drove in Eric Sogard. In 74 games with the Rays since being acquired from the Dodgers on May 10, d’Arnaud has 54 RBIs.

Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead in a first inning that featured both highlight and blooper-reel plays.

Austin Meadows got a one-out double down the left field line when Jake Bauers stumbled and fell on the bullpen mound while fielding the ball.

After Tommy Pham walked, Indians second baseman Mike Freeman made a diving catch on Ji-Man Choi’s liner.

Joey Wendle then lined an RBI single up the middle, and center fielder Oscar Mercado’s throw toward the plate hit umpire Hunter Wendelstedt near second base.

Lowe made it 3-1 on his third-inning shot.

Bauers had a run-scoring double in the second and cut the deficit to 5-2 with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly.

Tampa Bay responded with a three-run eighth against Dan Otero to break the game open.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Indians: 2B Jason Kipnis, who left in the seventh inning Saturday due to right wrist discomfort, didn’t play and will have his status re-evaluated by doctors Monday. … Otero (right shoulder inflammation) was reinstated from the injured list.

Rays: AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell (left elbow bone chip surgery) threw 18 pitches during his second bullpen. … RHP Tyler Glasnow (right forearm strain) is scheduled to throw two innings Monday during his second rehab outing for Triple-A Durham and could return late this week. … RHP Yonny Chirinos (right middle finger inflammation) is playing catch with the finger taped.

UP NEXT

Indians: RHP Aaron Civale (2-4) will face Chicago White Sox LHP Ross Detwiler (2-4) on Monday night.

Rays: LHP Ryan Yarbrough (11-3) is expected to start or follow an opener Monday against Baltimore.

Continuing coverage, here.

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