ST. PETERSBURG, Florida — Joey Butler kept another bad night for the Tampa Bay Rays from getting even worse.
Carlos Carrasco came within one strike of throwing the Cleveland Indians' first no-hitter since 1981 on Wednesday night, giving up an RBI single to Butler over leaping second baseman Jason Kipnis' glove in an 8-1 victory over the Rays.
"It's pretty discouraging when you get no hit," Butler said. "Now it kind of just looks like another loss instead of getting no-hit for a full game.
"You kind of get the sense that you're being bullied and outmatched all game, and to do it with two strikes in the bottom of the ninth," Butler added. "I just felt like I picked the guys up big-time today."
For the third straight night, the Indians took a perfect game into the sixth inning against the Rays. This time, Carrasco retired the first 19 batters before walking Butler with one out in the seventh.
Grady Sizemore broke up Cody Anderson's pursuit of perfection with a seventh-inning home run Monday, and Curt Casali doubled for the first hit off Cleveland's Danny Salazar in the sixth on Tuesday night.
Throw in Toronto's Marco Estrada, who took a perfect game into the eighth inning before Logan Forsythe broke up the bid with an infield single a week ago, and it's four times in seven games.
The common factor, according to Rays manager Kevin Cash, was "their pitchers."
"They've been outstanding," Cash said. "Cody Anderson is a little bit of an unknown; the other two guys, you could argue their stuff is as good as Chris Archer's — big fastballs, wipe-out breaking balls. They just happened to stack a couple of them against us in a row."
Washington's Max Scherzer lost a perfect game with one strike to go on June 20, but he finished with a no-hitter, the second in the major leagues this season.
Carrasco (10-6) walked Asdrubal Cabrera leading off the ninth, then struck pinch-hitter Brandon Guyer with a pitch. Sizemore, also pinch hitting, grounded into a force play and Kevin Kiermaier struck out to bring Butler to the plate with a crowd of 11,394 at Tropicana Field on its feet.
Butler lined an 0-2 pitch over Kipnis, who jumped high in the air to make an attempt at catching the ball and fell flat to the ground as the line drive landed cleanly in the outfield.
Carrasco smiled, clapped into his glove several times and pointed at the second baseman in appreciation of his effort.
"I just started laughing. I don't know if I was nervous or something, but that was my reaction," Carrasco said. "I almost made it. I threw a slider and kind of hung it a little bit."
The 28-year-old right-hander was lifted after his career-high 124th pitch and Austin Adams got the final out. Carrasco received pats on the back and hugs in the dugout after his 13 strikeout performance.
The last Indians' pitcher to throw a no-hitter was Len Barker, who had a perfect game against Toronto on May 15, 1981.
Brandon Moss homered and drove in five runs for the Indians. He had a two-run double off Alex Colome (3-4) in the second and a three-run homer off C.J. Riefenhauser in the eighth. Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley and David Murphy also drove in runs for Cleveland.
The Rays have lost four straight and eight of their last 10.
Indians: Manager Terry Francona said there is no timetable for when OF Nick Swisher (knee) could return. Swisher is running in the outfield.
Rays: RHP Jake Odorizzi (oblique) gave up one run over four innings in a rehab start for Class A Charlotte. ... 1B James Loney (broken left middle finger) had two hits for Charlotte and appears close to returning.
Indians: 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber (3-9) will start Thursday's series finale. He is 1-5 with a 4.00 ERA in nine road starts.
Rays: 2013 AL All-Star Matt Moore will make his first start since elbow ligament replacement surgery last year on Thursday. The left-hander hasn't pitched in the majors since April 7, 2013 at Kansas City. "I'm anxious, I'm excited," Moore said. "I feel ready."