Six Stellar from Salazar Earns Series Win; Indians 4, Blue Jays 2
Matt Travis | On 11, Jul 2013
Who needs a Cy Young award winner when you have a very confident young pitcher?
The Indians were able to take on R.A. Dickey and the Toronto Blue Jays with rookie Danny Salazar on the mound for his first ever major league start. He earned a win with a quality start as he gave up only two hits and one run, with the Indians pulling out a 4-2 victory in the series finale.
The first inning started with Salazar showing the Major League exactly what he is capable of, getting Jose Reyes to strike out swinging for Salazar’s first major league out. He followed that up with two groundouts for a 1-2-3 inning in his first inning as an Indian.
The Indians were able to jump on Dickey in the bottom of the first inning but missed a chance to really blow the game open. After Michael Bourn grounded out and Mike Aviles struck out to start the inning, Asdrubal Cabrera came up to bat. Cabrera hit an 0-2 pitch deep for his seventh home run of the season and his second off Dickey this year. Michael Brantley followed up with a single to right field before Ryan Raburn hit a double off the wall in right field to put men on second and third base. Carlos Santana, however, was unable to drive them in as he popped up to center field for out number three.
With Salazar setting down the Blue Jays in order again in the second inning, the Indians looked prime to put this game out of reach early. With one out in the inning, Lonnie Chisenhall got on base with an infield hit that bounced up and hit the shoulder of a Blue Jays player, helping Chisenhall run it out and be safe at first. Yan Gomes followed up by getting an infield hit of his own, a ball down the third base line that no one for Toronto was able to field. Bourn moved the runners to second and third on a ground out to second. Aviles was able to load the bases on a full count walk before Cabrera fouled out on the eighth pitch of his at bat, ending the inning without a single run scoring.
The third, forth and fifth innings saw both pitchers locked in, as only two base runners reached base for both teams combined. The only base runner for Toronto was Rajai Davis, who reached on a walk after an easy pop up in foul ground was lost in the sun and misplayed by Chisenhall. Aviles was able to reach base for the Indians after getting hit by a pitch from Dickey but was caught stealing second during the next at bat.
The top of the sixth inning saw Salazar give up his first hit of the game and his career. Josh Thole was the leadoff man in the inning for the Blue Jays. He should have been called out on strikes on a pitch that went right down the middle of the plate, belt high, but was called a ball before he hit a single to left field. Munenori Kawasaki bunted Thole to second base on a sacrifice. Salazar got Reyes to fly out for the second out of the inning before Jose Bautista hit a double to left field, driving in Thole and tying the game up 1-1.
The Tribe, however, seemed compelled to give Salazar the win and took the lead back in the bottom of the sixth inning. Brantley started the inning by getting hit by a pitch. Raburn followed by drawing a walk. After Santana struck out, Reynolds walked to load the bases for Chisenhall. Chisenhall took advantage of his chance, driving in Brantley on a single to left field, but Davis’s attempted to throw home from the outfield was air-mailed well over the head of the catcher. Raburn was paying attention and was able to keep running after the throw and score, making it a 3-1 lead for the Tribe.
Salazar’s day was over after the sixth inning, which was planned before the game as he was on an 80 to 90 pitch limit. Rich Hill came in for the seventh inning and Cody Allen came in for eighth inning. Combined between the two of them, the Blue Jays were only able to get one hit and struck out three times as the bullpen continued the great pitching day.
The Indians were able to tack on another insurance in the bottom of the eighth inning. After a leadoff walk from Raburn, Drew Stubbs came in to pinch run for him. Santana was next up and took a 1-0 pitch to right field for what looked like an easy catch before Bautista slipped and fell, letting the ball drop and roll all the way to wall, easily scoring Stubbs and giving Santana a triple.
Chris Perez came in to close the game out in the ninth inning. While he did make it a bit more exciting, giving up back-to-back two-out hits to score Lind, followed by a walk to Arencibia, Perez was able to get Davis to fly out to deep left field to end the game, giving the Indians a 4-2 win.
This win gives the Indians a series win over the Blue Jays and puts their record at 48-44.
Salazar (1-0, 1.50 ERA) ended the game with an absolutely great stat line for anyone let alone a pitcher throwing in his first major league start. He pitched six innings, allowed only two hits, on run, one walk, and was able to strike out seven Toronto batters.
The loss went to Dickey (8-10, 4.69 ERA) and the save was earned by Perez (11 saves, 3.28 ERA).
The Indians will open their last series before the All-Star Break tomorrow at 7:05 ET, home at Progressive Field, when Corey Kluber (6-5, 4.23 ERA) will take on Bruce Chen (3-0, 2.41 ERA) and the Kansas City Royals.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images