CLEVELAND -- Carlos Carrasco's return to the mound on Tuesday night was a testament to how far sports medicine has come. The starting pitcher's performance in his season debut for the Indians made it clear that he still has a long way to go.
Pitching in a Major League setting for the first time in two seasons, Carrasco labored and the Yankees pounced, sending Cleveland to a 14-1 loss at Progressive Field. Adding insult to his comeback from injury, Carrasco was ejected after hitting Kevin Youkilis with a pitch in the fourth inning.
"I feel really bad," Carrasco said. "I feel good, because I'm coming back and everything, and I feel healthy. But I know it doesn't look good."
Carrasco allowed a home run to Robinson Cano on the pitch prior to hitting Youkilis, but the pitcher insisted he did not hit New York's third baseman intentionally. Carrasco even stopped by Indians manager Terry Francona's office to offer an apology and an explanation.
The loss was the second in a row for the Indians (3-5), who have struggled to find consistent starting pitching in the season's early going. Cleveland's only wins by a starter have come with staff leader Justin Masterson on the hill, and the rest of the starters have done little to ease the worries about a rotation that was one of the American League's worst groups a season ago.
As Carrasco's night unraveled, and then ended abruptly, Francona was focused on doing what he could to save the arms in his bullpen. That is why he turned to Brett Myers -- Wednesday's planned starter -- and stuck with him to the bitter end, even while the veteran right-hander was being beaten badly by the Bronx Bombers.
"We had Brett on reserve tonight just in case Carlos didn't get deep," Francona said. "We didn't expect this to happen, but he knew that was a possibility. ... Losing a game is not fun, but Brett saved our bullpen. So hopefully we can win a game [Wednesday] night."
The Indians did not announce a starter for Wednesday after the game.
Carrasco was on the sideline last year, spending the entire campaign working his way back from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Prior to his forgettable meeting with the Yankees, the right-hander's previous outing came on Aug. 3, 2011. He underwent season-ending surgery that September.
In the first inning, Carrasco flashed his potential by hitting between 95-97 mph on the radar gun and escaping a two-on, none-out jam unscathed. When Carrasco induced a double play for his first two outs in the second, he looked to be on the cusp of a promising outing.
"He had electric stuff out of the gate," Francona said. "His stuff looked so good coming out of the chute."
That changed in a hurry.
The Yankees loaded the bases with two outs behind a pair of hits and a two-out walk. Brett Gardner, who tormented the Tribe all evening, followed with a two-run single to center to put New York on the board. Cano then delivered a two-run double to left to push the Indians into a 4-0 hole. In the third inning, Ichiro Suzuki kept things rolling with a leadoff home run off Carrasco.
Carrasco came unglued in the fourth. Once again, the pitcher created two quick outs on ground balls before running into trouble. He issued a two-out walk to Gardner and then surrendered a two-run home run to Cano, who has six extra-base hits and seven RBIs through the first two games of this four-game set.
All seven runs off Carrasco came with two outs.
"Every time I got two outs, I just walked or gave up a base hit," Carrasco said. "I lost my control and everything. I tried to be too perfect with my fastball and slider, everything."
Carrasco's last pitch sailed high and inside to Youkilis, hitting him on the back of the shoulder.
Home-plate umpire Jordan Baker walked out from behind the plate and ejected Carrasco from the contest. Carrasco spent the first five games of this season serving a suspension (previously issued as a six-game punishment) for a similar incident in 2011 with the Royals. Carrasco had not served the suspension yet due to missing last year with the injury.
"No one ever knows if a guy truly does it on purpose," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, "but he just came back from a [five-game] suspension. If it was on purpose, it's probably going to be longer and it's not a good idea. If it wasn't, it looks like it was. Either way, it doesn't look good."
Carrasco was charged with seven runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings, ending with two strikeouts and two walks. Myers entered in relief but did not fare much better. In 5 1/3 innings, Myers surrendered seven runs on 11 hits, including three home runs.
Youkilis launched a two-run shot off Myers in the sixth, and Lyle Overbay and Brennan Boesch later delivered one homer each in a four-run eighth for New York.
While Cleveland's pitching struggled to tame the Yankees, the Indians' lineup was unable to solve veteran Andy Pettitte. The left-hander logged seven innings and scattered five hits with four strikeouts and three walks. Pettitte's lone blemish came in the sixth, when Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera belted a home run, his second shot of the season.
"That's a hard way to play," Francona said of the early deficit. "And then you've got a guy on the mound [Pettitte] who knows exactly what to do with a lead. He's running that cutter in on the righties and he makes it a little bit bigger, it turns into a slider. He got a lead and he knew exactly what to do with it."