Offense Explodes While Salazar Sparkles; Indians 12, Rangers 2
Mike B. | On 01, Aug 2014
In a season full of inconsistent pitching, it would take a lot to overshadow a fine pitching performance.
On Friday night, it took 12 runs and 16 hits from the Indians, en route to a 12-2 win over the Texas Rangers. Cleveland scored in five of the first six innings and sent Rangers starter Jerome Williams to a historic defeat while former Ranger David Murphy exacted some revenge with a 4-for-4 night. The offensive explosion overshadowed Danny Salazar’s third straight quality start since returning from Triple-A.
For the second straight night, the Indians took an early lead with the help of Jason Kipnis at the top. Kipnis started the bottom of the first inning with a single to center field. Mike Aviles grounded into a fielder’s choice before Michael Brantley doubled to right field, allowing Aviles to score all the way from first base and give the Tribe a 1-0 lead.
After a strong first inning, Salazar struggled in the top of the second and almost gave the run back to Texas. Salazar walked Adrian Beltre and Joe Aducci to start the inning and set the table for a big Texas inning. But Salazar buckled down, striking out J.P. Arencibia and getting Leonys Martin to pop out to third base. Just as it looked like Salazar would escape, Robinson Chirinos singled to right field before David Murphy threw a strike to home plate, cutting down Beltre at the plate for the final out of the inning.
Cleveland tallied a pair more in both the third and fourth innings. In the third, Aviles walked and Brantley singled to start the inning. Carlos Santana singled to right center field to bring home Aviles. Lonnie Chisenhall grounded into a double play, but another run scored and the Indians had a 3-0 lead. In the fourth, Murphy and Ryan Raburn each singled with one out. After Kipnis flew out, Aviles got a two-out base hit to plate Murphy. Brantley followed with a single to center field that scored Raburn before Aviles was cut down trying to advance to third. The out at third base ended the inning, but Cleveland led 5-0 after four innings.
Texas got on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth inning when Chirinos started the inning with a double into the right field corner. Murphy misplayed the ball and Chirinos was able get to third base. Salazar kept the damage to a minimum, however, getting Rougned Odor to ground out—allowing the run to score—and Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus to line out. Texas cut the lead to 5-1, but Salazar dodged a potential big inning.
The Tribe put the game to bed early in the fifth inning, scoring six times. Santana walked to start the inning before Chisenhall, Swisher and Gomes each singled. Gomes single plated a run and Murphy followed with a double to right field to score two more. That forced Williams from the game, in favor of Nate Adcock, who did not have much more luck. Entering the game trailing 9-1, Adcock uncorked a wild pitch to allow Gomes to score and another single to Aviles that plated two more, making it 11-1 after five innings.
Williams—making just his second start of the season—pitched just four innings, allowing 10 runs on 13 hits and three walks while striking out two. Normally a reliever, Williams (2-5) has been thrust into the rotation due to injuries. He becomes the second Texas Rangers pitcher ever to allow 10 runs on 13 hits in four innings or fewer. Colby Lewis was the first pitcher, establishing the dubious distinction earlier this season.
Cleveland added another run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Chisenhall jerked his 10th home run of the season into the right field seats. The solo blast made it 12-1.
Salazar (4-4) was very strong, building a third straight solid start since his recall from Triple-A. Staked with a double-digit lead, Salazar pitched six innings, allowing just one unearned run on four hits, three walks and striking out four. His ability to dodge trouble in the second inning may have helped change the direction of the game. It was his third straight win in as many starts.
Kyle Crockett recorded the first two outs in the seventh inning before giving way to Austin Adams for the final third of the inning. Adams remained in the game, pitching a scoreless eighth inning and Carlos Carrasco finished the game in the ninth. Carrasco allowed a run in the ninth on back-to-back singles with two outs in the game.
The Tribe’s 16-hit outburst included all nine starters. Each starter registered a hit, highlighted by Murphy’s four and Brantley’s three. Aviles drove in three runs.
Cleveland will try to keep the offense and solid starting pitching going on Saturday evening when T.J. House (1-2, 4.50) takes the mound for the Tribe. House assumes the spot in the rotation that was vacated by Justin Masterson when he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday. House will be opposed by Miles Mikolas (1-3, 8.54) of the Rangers. Saturday evening’s game will honor Jim Thome and unveil his statue in center field. Gates will open at 4:30, with the ceremony at 5 and the game beginning at 7:05 p.m.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images