Sometimes the sizzle isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
That was the case Thursday evening when Danny Salazar became the first player in the modern Major League era to strike out 10 hitters but not complete four innings on the mound. The Chicago White Sox made the young, flame-thrower work for his outs and eventually they took advantage, defeating Cleveland, 7-3. White Sox pitcher John Danks survived an early Indians rally to provide a quality, veteran effort while Cuban rookie Jose Abreu provided the offense.
The Indians struck early, taking the lead in the top of the first inning. Asdrubal Cabrera started the game with a double that was less than a foot from clearing the left field fence. Nick Swisher walked before Jason Kipnis singled to left field, allowing Cabrera to score and give the Indians a 1-0 lead. Danks uncorked a wild pitch and Swisher and Kipnis each moved into scoring position. Ryan Raburn hit a sacrifice fly to score Swisher and the Indians were up a pair in the middle of the first inning.
Salazar seemed to be all or nothing on the mound as his electric fastball was sharp early. After striking out the side in the first inning, Abreu smoked a solo home run to start the second inning for Chicago. Abreu’s solo home run was his third of the season. Salazar recovered to strike out the side again after allowing the homer.
Cleveland extended the lead in the top of the third inning when Cabrera found that extra foot and took Danks deep to left field for a solo home run. Cabrera’s first home run of the season gave the Indians a 3-1 lead, but it would be short lived.
Alexei Ramirez continued the leadoff homer theme in the bottom half of the third inning when he took Salazar deep to left field. Adrian Nieto singled and advanced on a wild pitch before Adam Eaton singled him home and the White Sox tied the game, 3-3 in the third inning. Salazar struck out a pair in the inning, running his tally to eight in three innings.
But all the pitches to strike out hitters affected Salazar’s location quickly in the fourth inning and the White Sox took advantage. Dayan Viciedo singled and Alejandro De Aza walked with one out in the fourth inning to set the table for Ramirez’s double to center field. Both base runners scored and Chicago led 5-3.
After Salazar struck out Nieto, his evening was completed after just three and two-third innings, allowing five runs, on six hits, two walks and striking out 10 hitters. Only Eaton’s base hit in the third inning, where he was thrown out trying to advance to second base, was a recorded out that was not a strikeout from Salazar. Salazar’s pitch count escalated quickly with all the strikeouts, resulting in 93 pitches. Josh Outman finished the inning without further damage.
Abreu tagged Outman for his second home run of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, putting Chicago up 6-3. Meanwhile Danks settled down and started holding the Indians’ offense in check. Danks worked a three-up, three-down fifth inning before allowing two-out hits to Raburn and Michael Brantley in the sixth. However, Danks got Yan Gomes to fly out to end the inning and strand a pair in scoring position. Danks pitched six innings, allowing three runs, on six hits, two walks and four strikeouts. The veteran, left-hander made the most of his 99 pitches, versus the young Salazar.
Daniel Webb pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth inning for Chicago while C.C. Lee pitched nicely in relief of Outman. Lee gave the Indians an inning and one-third before giving way to Blake Wood in the seventh. The White Sox were able to add another run when Abreu grounded into a fielder’s choice, extending the lead to 7-3. Matt Lindstrom worked a quiet ninth inning and Chicago sealed the victory. Cleveland did not register a base hit after Brantley’s double in the sixth inning.
The White Sox victory is their first against the Indians in their last 15 games. The Tribe was 17-2 in 2013 against Chicago. Cleveland will try to snap their quick two game losing streak Friday when Carlos Carrasco (0-1, 6.35) makes his second start of the season. Chicago will counter with left-hander Chris Sale (2-0, 1.76).
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