Salazar Sizzles as Tribe Serves Up Baker’s Dozen; Indians 13, Reds 1
Bob Toth | On 17, May 2016
Danny Salazar pitched into the eighth inning and the Indians offense served up 13 runs on 17 hits as Cleveland completed the two-game home sweep of the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night, 13-1.
Unlike Monday night’s game, the Indians got on the board early and never looked back.
With one out in the second, Yan Gomes singled to left off of Cincinnati starter Alfredo Simon. After a fly out from Lonnie Chisenhall, Marlon Byrd singled to left before Rajai Davis started his big night at the plate with a single to right. Gomes scored, but barely, as Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart dropped the throw from right, allowing the other two runners to move up. Still with two outs, Carlos Santana walked on four straight to load the bases and after three more balls to Jason Kipnis, Simon uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Byrd to score. After a pair of strikes looking, Kipnis singled to center to score both Davis and Santana to make it a 4-0 Indians lead.
The Indians erased all doubt in their next trip to the plate in the bottom of the third, again starting a rally with two outs. Jose Ramirez singled to center to start the inning and moved to second one out later on an infield single from Chisenhall. After Byrd struck out, Davis delivered a two-run double to the wall in left to make it 6-0. Santana added one more to that lead with a single to center to plate Davis.
Cleveland took some pity in the fourth, stranding a Mike Napoli single, but ran up the score in the fifth. Chisenhall doubled to left and Davis singled him to third an out later. Santana drove Chisenhall home with a single to right and Simon’s long night came to an end, down 8-0.
Things got a little more unusual, however, as Bryan Price brought in Steve Delabar from the bullpen. He walked Kipnis on five pitches to load the bases before striking out Francisco Lindor on four pitches. What then unfolded was a scene unlike any seen by most baseball fans as each of the next four men to the plate (Napoli, Ramirez, Gomes, and Chisenhall) worked their counts full before drawing bases loaded walks to push the lead to 12-0.
“I’m glad our guys kept their concentration enough to do that,” said Francona. “It’s easy in a game like that to start to want to swing. I thought our guys did a good job of allowing that game to get spread out.”
The Indians made it a lucky 13 with two outs in the sixth when Napoli singled home Davis, who had walked to start the inning against former Cleveland reliever Blake Wood.
Salazar, meanwhile, was working easily against the Reds, only briefly running into trouble in the second inning after a leadoff walk from Brandon Phillips and a single from Jay Bruce. He then retired 16 straight batters before giving up his second hit of the night to Phillips with one out in the seventh. Bruce delivered his second hit of the game to move Phillips into scoring position before Eugenio Suarez singled to center to load the bases. Adam Duvall got the Reds on the scoreboard with a sacrifice fly to left, but Jose Peraza lined out to right to end the temporary threat.
The Tribe starter faced two batters in the eighth, giving up a double to Barnhart before striking out Ivan De Jesus Jr. and exiting the game for the Indians bullpen, who maintained the 13-1 advantage for the Cleveland win.
The Indians ended their brief homestand on a much more positive note and improved to 19-17 on the season and 11-8 at Progressive Field. The Reds fell to 15-24 and have won just three games in 17 attempts away from Great American Ball Park this season.
Even with several long delays between his trips to the mound, Salazar (4-2, 1.80 ERA) looked strong Tuesday for the Tribe, working seven and one-third innings while throwing 95 pitches, 67 for strikes. He allowed just one late run on five hits, walked one, and struck out eight.
“He was good. He was real good,” said Francona in his postgame press conference. “And he kept his concentration throughout. I thought Gomer and then Gimenez also did a really good job of kind of guiding him through it because there were some long innings. And to his credit he stayed with it. It kinda starts to get where both teams want to move on. But there were some quick early outs that helped him late but he threw the ball really well.”
It was a strong improvement for Salazar, who issued a career-high tying six free passes in his last outing, a five-inning no-decision against the Houston Astros, despite allowing just one run on four hits while striking out ten.
Price had it out for his starter Simon (1-4, 10.34), who dug an early hole and then paid the price to eat up some innings on the mound with the game out of hand. He lasted just four and one-third innings, allowing ten runs on 14 hits. He walked one and struck out two.
GETTING SOME WORK
Francona went to Bryan Shaw with one out in the eighth inning. He threw eight pitches (five strikes) to retire both batters he faced. Cody Allen worked the ninth in the blowout, allowing one walk and one strikeout while getting some work in after the massive scoring onslaught from his offensive teammates in the last two games.
“We wanted Shaw and Cody to pitch,” said Francona, “but not too much.”
DAVIS ON FIRE
Davis, batting ninth in the lineup after leading off on Monday, continued to be a force after ending his 0-for-19 slump that he took into the series. He was 3-for-3 on Tuesday, scored four runs, drove home three, and added a pair of walks on the night. He was 5-for-7 in the series with six runs scored and four RBI.
“Just trying to keep my body ready and do what I need to do and stay young,” shared Davis about his ability to effect the lineup while on the radio postgame show after Tuesday’s win. “I live a pretty slow life. It’s pretty boring. I wake up and pretty much go to the ball park and do it again.”
JOIN THE HIT PARADE
For the second straight night, every Indians starter had at least one hit in the ball game. The Indians offense scored 28 runs on 36 hits in the two-game series against the scuffling Reds.
Davis was an ignitor for the Indians lineup in the ninth spot on Tuesday with his three-hit game, but his efforts were matched by Lindor’s three hits (one single, two doubles) and Chisenhall’s 3-for-4.
“We did it kinda one through nine,” said Francona. “Everybody chipped in and got some hits and took some walks and it allows us to be aggressive on the bases and good things happened. It’s kinda rare so you take it and enjoy it. We’ll move on quickly because we gotta play them again tomorrow.”
WE GOT THE RUNS
Just one night after putting up innings of three, four, and five runs, the Indians repeated the feat on Tuesday. They scored four runs in the second and three in the third before tacking on five runs in the fifth inning to blow the gates wide open.
“I definitely think we are battling,” said Davis. “I know every player seems like they’re going up there not giving in and they’re fighting, not making any easy outs, not giving away at bats, and that’s a real key.”
After scoring just 31 runs over their previous nine games (three series total with Kansas City, Houston, and Minnesota), the Indians scored 28 runs in the two-game series with the Reds.
TWELVE IS A LUCKY NUMBER
With 15 on Monday and 13 more on Tuesday, the Indians scored a dozen or more runs in consecutive games for the first time since August 20 and 22 of 2000.
DELABAR SERVING UP RUNS ON A PLATTER
Reds reliever Delabar had a night to forget on the mound. He retired just Lindor on a strikeout and walked all five of the other batters he faced, including the final four with the bases loaded. He was charged with a pair of earned runs, while several more went to the Reds starter.
Chisenhall returned to the Indians lineup in a big way after missing the weekend series with the Minnesota Twins and the series opener with the Reds on Monday. He had three hits with two runs scored and an RBI, powered by two doubles. He now has four doubles and four RBI on the season and boosted his batting average to .291.
Cody Anderson was optioned to Triple-A Columbus to make room on the roster for Chisenhall.
CLEVINGER’S MAGICAL MAY CONTINUES ON WEDNESDAY
Clippers pitcher Mike Clevinger will be recalled from Columbus on Wednesday to make his Major League debut against the Reds as the two teams move their series to Cincinnati. A corresponding roster move will need to be made in order to add Clevinger to the 25-man roster. The right-hander will make that debut at Great American Ball Park in Wednesday’s 7:10 PM ET start. He was 5-0 with a 3.03 ERA in seven starts at Triple-A.
Left-hander Brandon Finnegan (1-2, 4.40) will start for the Reds.
Photo: Leon Halip/Getty Images