Six Spot from Tribe Supports Superb Salazar in Shutout; Indians 6, Rays 0
Bob Toth | On 14, Apr 2016
A fantastic quality start from Danny Salazar was supported by six runs of offense and three home runs as the Cleveland Indians took the rubber match from the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday afternoon by a 6-0 final.
Salazar was once again a force on the mound for the Tribe as he dueled with Rays starter Chris Archer. The game was scoreless until the middle innings, when the Indians finally did some damage against their former pitching prospect after threatening in the first few innings.
Roberto Perez reached on an error to start the inning and moved to second when Rajai Davis drew a walk. After Jason Kipnis flied out to center, Francisco Lindor delivered an RBI-single to right field to score Perez. The Indians had a chance to blow the game open with Davis at third and Lindor on second after advancing on the throw, but the inning short-circuited as Mike Napoli struck out (but reached on a dropped third strike) and Davis was thrown out at the plate attempting to score on the pitch. Carlos Santana grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Salazar worked a quick fifth, aided by a smart defensive play from Lindor, and the Indians got back to work in the sixth. Jose Ramirez singled to left and the first pitch to Marlon Byrd was crushed to deep left center for his first homer as an Indian, giving the team a 3-0 lead. Archer would face one more batter before Steve Geltz relieved, but with two outs, Davis homered to left to extend the lead to four runs for Cleveland.
“His ability to hit the ball out of the ball park,” said Indians manager Terry Francona, “he’s done it for a long time. He’s been real consistent with it. As he gets his legs under him, because he didn’t have a lot of spring training at bats, hopefully some of that production comes with it.”
The Indians added solo runs in the seventh and ninth innings, as Tyler Naquin delivered a two-out RBI-single to score Napoli and Ramirez homered to right with one out in the final frame.
The Cleveland bullpen combined for three innings of scoreless relief to complete the shutout with five strikeouts. Trevor Bauer allowed two hits in the ninth, but struck out three.
The Indians return home to Cleveland with a 4-3 record, while the Rays drop to 3-6 on the year.
Salazar (2-0, 0.79 ERA) earned his second win of the season in as many tries with another impressive effort on the mound for Cleveland. He worked six scoreless innings and allowed three hits and three walks while striking out nine.
“His pitch count was almost identical to Chicago,” said Francona. “He was at five and a third and he was getting up in the mid-90s. Saying that, he kept them off the scoreboard. We haven’t been in our bullpen a ton, part of it’s because the weather, part of it’s because our starters have been getting deep.”
INDIANS AN ACHILLES HEEL FOR ARCHER
Archer (0-3, 5.87) has had no luck against the team that drafted him in the 2006 draft. In four career starts, the Rays ace has taken the loss in all four games and has an ERA of 4.91. He allowed three runs (two earned), struck out seven, and walked three while striking out six.
“He’s so good. Even when he’s not in midseason form and fighting himself a little bit he still has the ability to reach back when he needed to. One of the better sliders in the game. We stayed after him, got his pitch count up, and then once we kind of broke through, we kept fighting, which is good, and we spread it around a little bit.”
WHO’S THAT GUY, PART 2
Catcher Perez, a dozen days into the Major League season, finally appeared in his first game. Rain outs and other weather interferences had enabled the Indians to use Yan Gomes regularly while getting some rest.
GIVE ME A CHANCE, COACH
Rookie outfielder Naquin, making just his second start of the season and batting eighth in the Tribe lineup, notched his first career three-hit game. His bloop RBI-single was the first run batted in of his career.
“I think we’re going to play [Naquin] like every two weeks,” said Francona to chuckles from reporters. “He did a good job. Good for him. That couldn’t have been easy. He’s handled himself real well and I think everybody’s happy for him.”
LEADING OFF THE RIGHT WAY
Davis did what a leadoff hitter is supposed to do, finding his way on base four times in six plate appearances on the afternoon. He singled in the first prior to stealing both second and third bases. After lining out to end the second, he walked in the fifth, homered in the sixth, and reached on an infield single in the eighth before grounding into a fielder’s choice in the ninth.
The Indians return home from their two-city road trip to host the New York Mets over the weekend.
Former Indians pitcher Bartolo Colon (0-1, 1.23) will return to his old home at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario in his first start in Cleveland since 2013 and just his second since the beginning of the 2006 season. The Indians will counter with Cody Anderson (0-0, 3.00) on the mound.
Game time is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.
Photos: AP Photo/Chris O’Meara