For the second time this weekend, the Indians knocked out an Angels starting pitcher in the second inning and five early runs set the stage for an easy win for Cleveland over Los Angeles on Sunday, 8-3.
The Tribe jumped out early on the third batter of the game as Francisco Lindor homered to left off of former Indians first round draft pick David Huff to give the club a 1-0 lead.
They added four more in the second inning against the veteran southpaw, as Carlos Santana led off the inning with a line drive home run into the bullpen to make it 2-0. Yan Gomes doubled and Juan Uribe reached on an error at third by Jefry Marte to put runners on the corners. After a strikeout from Lonnie Chisenhall, Michael Martinez grounded into a fielder’s choice, scoring Gomes with the third run. Rajai Davis moved Martinez to second on a single to left and after a walk by Jose Ramirez, Lindor drove home two more with a single to right, ending Huff’s short outing.
Indians starter Danny Salazar, making his first start after skipping his scheduled start during the week with right shoulder fatigue, had some command issues but battled through. After throwing 33 pitches through the first two innings, he had a five-pitch blink of an eye inning in the third before the Angels threatened in the fourth. Mike Trout reached on a single to third that drilled third baseman Uribe in a sensitive area and Albert Pujols drew a walk. Salazar buckled down, striking out the next three batters in order to escape any damage.
Salazar threw a lot of pitches again in the fifth, giving up a single to catcher Carlos Perez, but again retiring all three outs via strikeout. He was lifted in the sixth after a home run from Marte that could have been much worse after the leadoff walk to Trout to start the inning. Pujols grounded into a double play to empty the bases before the blast.
Cleveland added to their lead in response to the homer in the top of the seventh. Davis walked to start the inning but was erased on a fielder’s choice. Lindor grounded out to the mound, moving Ramirez up with two outs. Mike Napoli jumped on the first pitch of his at bat from Jose Alvarez and singled to center, scoring the runner to make it a 6-1 Indians lead.
The Angels scored a run and had a significant scare in the bottom of the eighth, when Trout was hit by a Tommy Hunter pitch to lead off the inning. Pujols struck out and Marte grounded pinch-runner Shane Robinson to second for the second out. C.J. Cron reached safely on a grounder booted by Ramirez, allowing Robinson to score to keep the game within four runs.
The Tribe tallied two more in the ninth off of reliever Fernando Salas. Lindor singled with one out and trotted home one out later as Santana drilled his second homer of the afternoon to right to make it an 8-2 score.
“Carlos looked like he spread it out on the one and Trout made a nice play,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “And then he hit the next one, which gives you a little breathing room because they still got those bats in the middle that make you nervous.”
Zach McAllister pitched the ninth and made it a challenge, giving up a double to Johnny Giavotella to start off the inning before a one-out walk to Gregorio Petit. Kole Calhoun knocked in a run with a single to right, forcing the Indians bullpen to get into action and a trip to the mound by Mickey Callaway for a one-sided conversation with his reliever with the score 8-3. The right-hander retired Yunel Escobar and Pujols on fly outs to end the ball game.
The Indians (35-27) are back in the win column with another series win and guarantee that they will leave their next series in Kansas City no worse than in a tie for first place in the American League Central. Wins by the Royals and the Detroit Tigers, coupled with the Indians win, keep their lead at three games.
Cleveland is now 9-3 in June, including 4-3 on their current ten-game road trip.
The Angels (27-36) have now dropped six of their last seven contests and 12 of their last 16.
SALAZAR SHAKY BUT ENDURES
Tribe starter Salazar (7-3, 2.19 ERA) did not have his best stuff with him, but as has been the case several times this season, even when he does not have his greatest command he still has enough to limit opposing players. He lasted five and two-thirds innings, allowing one run on three hits with four walks and eight strikeouts. He threw 102 pitches, just 62 for strikes.
“He looked strong. He obviously didn’t command very well,” said Francona. “It kind of seemed like he didn’t give up many hits, but he was having to pitch out of trouble. The good sign was that he was able to reach back and get out of the inning without letting them score until he hung a breaking ball on the last pitch he threw. Thankfully he competes and he has good stuff. I think when he does command better, that’s when you’re going to see him go later in the games.
“We’ve seen this at times with Danny. Again, there was a layoff, too. But as he works ahead in the count with his stuff, hitters have to respect all of his pitches. That’s when we’ll see him get deeper in the games.”
HUFF HIT HARD
Angels lefty Huff (0-2, 11.81) was hit hard for the second consecutive start this season and could not clear the second inning. He gave Los Angeles just one and two-thirds innings on the mound, allowing five runs (just two earned) on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts. It could be his last outing filling in for the Angels in their rotation, with recent free agent signing Tim Lincecum getting closer to returning from the minor leagues.
SANTANA SLUGS A PAIR
First baseman Santana hit a pair of homers on the day and drove in three. His home run in the second inning was his first of the season from the right side of the plate. His two-run shot in the ninth was his 12th of the season. It is the second time this season that Santana has gone yard twice in a game.
“In the past, he’s been so good right-handed, and then for a while there, it’s been rough. I do think he’s been swinging it better right-handed,” said Francona. “He’s such a connector in the lineup wherever he is because he does have that switch-hit ability with power. That should really help us.”
LINDOR LEADS OFFENSE EARLY
Lindor looked sharp after getting nearly a full game off on Saturday night. He was 3-for-5 at the plate, scored a pair of runs, and drove in three. He had a pair of singles and lifted his seventh homer of the season in the first to give the Indians the early advantage.
URIBE LEAVES ON CART
Uribe left in the bottom of the fourth inning when a one-hop smash from Trout caught him between the legs. After laying on his stomach for several minutes, he was able to roll over while being looked at by the trainer. He was unable to walk off of the field, needing a cart to help get him to the locker room.
A report on MLB.com indicated that Uribe had suffered a testicular contusion, an injury similar to that suffered by Gomes earlier this road trip. According to Statcast, the drive from Trout was registered at 106 miles per hour off of the bat.
TROUT LEAVES WITH THUMB INJURY
Star outfielder Trout was plunked in the right thumb by a Hunter pitch in the eighth and was unable to stay in the game. X-rays were negative on the hand and he was diagnosed with a bruised right thumb.
KIPNIS WITH A DAY OFF
Second baseman Jason Kipnis got a day off for the Indians on Sunday, although he did attempt to suit up when Uribe was injured in the fourth. Manager Francona instead elected to insert Tyler Naquin into the game in center field and moved Martinez in to third base.
The Indians make the final stop on their three-city road trip in Kansas City, starting a three-game set in Missouri on Monday against the second-place Royals. Carlos Carrasco (2-1, 3.48) will start for the Indians against the Royals’ Edinson Volquez (5-6, 4.25). Game time is scheduled for 8:15 PM ET from Kauffman Stadium.
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