ST. PETERSBURG -- Carlos Carrasco flirted with a no-hitter, and the Indians' bats hung a five-spot on the board in the fifth to lead a 5-0 win over the Rays on Friday night at Tropicana Field.
The American League Central-leading Indians (61-52) maintained a firm lock on their division, while the Rays (59-58) did not gain any ground on the AL East-leading Red Sox, nor the Wild Card-leading Yankees.
Carrasco, who came within one out of pitching a no-hitter against the Rays at Tropicana Field on July 1, 2015, fell seven outs shy of turning the trick on Friday night.
"He's pretty good to begin with, but ... for whatever reason, whether it's the mound, whether it's the environment … Man, he goes out and pitches well [in St. Petersburg]," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "It was nice to kind of break through and get those runs because neither team had anything. We got him a little cushion and he pitched a heck of a game."
Joey Butler broke up Carrasco's bid in 2015, and Logan Morrison did so on Friday when he ripped a single to right with two outs in the seventh.
"I think when they got a 5-0 lead, I was like, 'It's going to be a bad night,'" Morrison said. "Being able to get a hit on the board and take some pressure off [was nice]. Nobody wants to be on the other end of a no-hitter."
Carrasco allowed no runs on two hits and two walks while striking out 10 in eight innings to move to 11-5. He is 4-0 with a 1.11 ERA in five career appearances (four starts) at Tropicana Field.
"I think it's fair to say that Carlos Carrasco enjoys pitching at this ballpark for whatever reason," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "This is three years now that it seems he's put together pretty dominant performances and you can definitely see why when he's [throwing] 93-96 [mph], keeping the ball down and featuring the changeup and slider."
Carrasco and Rays starter Jacob Faria were perfect through four innings. But the Indians got busy in the fifth when Edwin Encarnacion led off the inning with his 23rd home run. Faria needed 32 pitches to finish the fifth, with the Indians scoring four more times to take a 5-0 lead.
"One run doesn't usually win you a ballgame, but today it did," Indians catcher Yan Gomes said. "But it was good to just keep everything going. ... [Jay] Bruce came up, got a base hit, I laid an unbelievable bunt down, they ended up giving me a hit … and then we had the other guys come in and get big hits to extend the lead. I think once we got things rolling, it really opened up for us."
Faria allowed five runs on six hits and three walks while striking out seven en route to his third loss of the season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Eddie E ignites: Encarnacion's fifth-inning homer was deposited 403 feet over the center-field wall, had a 105.3-mph exit velocity with a 29-degree launch angle per Statcast™, and opened the floodgates for the Indians' offense.
Off Longo's glove: The Indians had already scored twice in the fifth when Giovanny Urshela stepped to the plate with one out. He promptly smoked a single up the left side that caromed off of Evan Longoria's glove. Had Longoria managed to make a play on the shot, he might have prevented a run from scoring. Instead, Carlos Santana scored from third and the Indians added two more runs to take a 5-0 lead. Collateral damage from the play saw Longoria suffer a contusion to his left thumb, which caused him to leave the game an inning later.
"[Carrasco's] numbers here are not a joke. It's frustrating. But the guy pitches really well here, and his stuff when he's on is electric. For the two at-bats I was in there, it was frustrating. Tough at-bats." -- Longoria
"In the first inning, it was the fastball command, and then after that, I used a lot of my curveball and my slider, too, even my changeup. So everything was working together." -- Carrasco
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Carrasco took a no-hitter into the seventh inning for the third time in his career, with the two longest times coming at Tropicana Field (8 2/3 innings and 6 2/3 innings). The other bid came in Kansas City in 2015 (6 1/3 innings).
WHAT'S NEXT Indians:Mike Clevinger (5-4, 4.00) rejoins the rotation to make his first start since July 31 at 6:10 p.m. ET Saturday at Tropicana Field. The right-hander gave up 10 earned runs in 7 1/3 innings in his last two starts before a short stint in the bullpen that consisted of a lone appearance in which three scored off him in an inning of work.
Rays:Chris Archer (8-6, 3.80) will oppose Clevinger for the Rays. Archer has made 15 consecutive starts of at least six innings, a career-long streak and the longest by a Rays pitcher since David Price reached 15 from May 13 to July 30, 2014.