The right-hander looks to do it again and help the Indians complete a three-game sweep of Santana and the Twins on Thursday at Jacobs Field.
Carmona (4-1, 3.12 ERA) is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his last four outings beginning with a victory over Minnesota and Santana on April 24. The converted reliever, who made seven starts in 38 appearances for Cleveland (23-14) last season, was called up from Triple-A Buffalo on May 7 when Jake Westbrook was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained abdominal muscle.
“Last year, I was in a situation where I was learning the process,” Carmona said through an interpreter. “Right now, I feel like I have the confidence, and I know what to expect. I’m going after hitters, and I feel like I’m more calm on the mound.”
He continued the longest winning streak of his career on Saturday when he gave up three runs over seven innings of a 6-3 win over Oakland. Carmona recovered from a three-run first inning to blank the Athletics for the rest of his stint.
“That tells you all you need to know about the young man,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “He just got stronger and stronger as the game went on. That was as impressive a performance as we’ve seen from him.”
Carmona, who will make his third career start against the Twins, allowed two runs and six hits in 7 2-3 innings of the 5-3 victory at the Metrodome on April 24. He is 1-1 with a 3.24 ERA in six appearances against them.
Santana (4-3, 3.35) pitched well in his last start, but took the loss when he gave up two runs over six innings of a 7-3 loss to Detroit on Friday.
The left-hander allowed four runs in seven innings in the first matchup against Carmona and fell to 7-3 with a 3.21 ERA in 25 appearances - 15 starts - against the Indians. He’s 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three road starts this year.
Cleveland last swept three games from Minnesota (18-21) from April 7-9 last season and won 7-1 on Wednesday. The Indians, who improved baseball’s best home record to 13-3, picked up their eighth straight win at Jacobs Field.
“We’re playing well as a team right now, and everyone is doing their jobs,” said starter C.C. Sabathia, who pitched eight strong innings.
The slumping Twins, meanwhile, have lost six of their last eight games and have dropped four straight on the road. The defending AL Central champions are in fourth place, 6 1/2 games behind first-place Detroit.
“It’s not early anymore,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “In this division, if you don’t win now, it’s very tough to catch up.”
The Twins placed right-hander Jesse Crain on the 15-day DL with a torn rotator cuff and torn labrum. Right-hander Julio DePaula was called up from Triple-A Rochester to take Crain’s place in the bullpen.
“He ate up a lot of big innings for us,” Gardenhire said of Crain. “People are going to have to step up.”