Marlins send Carmona to first loss in last 11 starts

Marlins 3, Indians 0

MIAMI (AP) -- Duly impressed by Fausto Carmona, the Florida Marlins showered Cleveland's young and promising right-hander with high postgame praise.

"There should be a different league for that guy," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

"The word 'electric' certainly applies to him," offered Florida first baseman Aaron Boone.

Yes, Carmona was good. But Scott Olsen was even better.

Olsen allowed three hits in seven innings to outpitch Carmona, and Miguel Olivo's three-run double helped the Marlins beat the Indians 3-0 on Tuesday night -- handing Carmona his first loss since April 13, a span of 11 starts.

"Our starting pitcher threw awesome and ... basically we have nothing to show for it," Indians third baseman Casey Blake said.

Carmona (7-2) sizzled through the first six innings, allowing only two hits and neither of those baserunners past first.

But Hanley Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera started the seventh with singles and Carmona hit Josh Willingham to load the bases -- and two batters later, Olivo's chopper hit the ground a few feet from home plate, got over Blake's head and rolled all the way into the left-field corner to account for all the scoring.

"I was just looking for a sinker," Olivo said, "and thank God I hit it."

Armando Benitez pitched a perfect eighth for Florida, and Kevin Gregg finished it off for his 10th save in as many chances.

Cleveland's loss, combined with Justin Verlander's no-hitter for Detroit against Milwaukee, left the Indians and Tigers tied for first place in the AL Central with identical 37-26 records. The Indians held a 4½-game lead on June 1.

"If you look at the last 10 days, we've been in a little bit of an offensive funk," Indians manager Eric Wedge said.

Olsen certainly kept them there.

Olsen (5-5) was 1-3 in his previous six starts with an ERA of 5.73 over that stretch. But on Tuesday, he issued no walks and only allowed one runner to reach third base; David Dellucci was stranded there in the third.

"He pitched like a 15-year veteran," Gonzalez said. "His composure, everything was outstanding."

And with the way Carmona was throwing, Olsen had to be almost perfect. He struck out Jason Michaels to end the seventh and then gave a sweeping fist pump on his way back to the Marlins' dugout -- and had more to celebrate in the bottom of the seventh, when Florida finally broke through.

He didn't lobby to go back out for the eighth.

"We've got Benitez and Gregg coming in. I'm good," said Olsen, who'd been battling strep throat. "That's their job. Let them do it."

Carmona allowed only two hits through six innings, one of them a disputed bunt single by Alfredo Amezaga. Cleveland first baseman Travis Hafner insisted he tagged Amezaga and Wedge unsuccessfully argued with umpire Brian Knight. But Amezaga was stranded, as no Marlins baserunner reached second base until the seventh.

Carmona won his first appearance in 2006 but then went 0-10 the rest of the year and lost his first start this season. He'd been unbeaten since, though, going 7-0 with a 2.54 ERA in his last 10 starts entering Tuesday.

"I don't feel frustrated," Carmona said. "It's not about the wins and the losses. It's about how well I thought I pitched."

Game notes
Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore pinch-hit in the ninth inning, extending his streak of games played to 259. He wasn't in the starting lineup, but his fly out to center leading off the final inning kept his streak alive. It's the third-longest in the majors behind the Orioles' Miguel Tejada and the Dodgers' Juan Pierre. ... It was only the fourth time the Indians played in Miami since losing Game 7 of the 1997 World Series. The Marlins, who handed out mini replica championship trophies Tuesday, swept a three-game home series when Cleveland last visited in June 2002. ... Marlins shortstop Ramirez had two errors on throws that skipped past Boone and nearly picked up a third when Jhonny Peralta reached on what was ruled an infield single in the seventh. Peralta was caught stealing later in the inning.