DETROIT (AP) – Left off the Cleveland Indians’ roster at the end of spring training, Danny Salazar is trying to make the most of a second chance.
Thus far, he’s doing a fine job.
Salazar struck out a career-high 11, Brandon Moss homered twice and drove in seven runs, and the Indians routed the suddenly slumping Detroit Tigers 13-1 Friday night.
Thanks to some help from center fielder Michael Bourn, Salazar (2-0) escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first and went on to pitch seven strong innings.
“This is what we’ve expected to see from Danny all along,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He looks like a different pitcher than he did in Florida, and we’re going to challenge him every day to keep that going.”
Salazar gave up six hits and three walks.
“I’m challenging guys now, and tonight I was able to throw all my pitches when I needed them,” he said. “That’s the difference.”
Salazar was handed a two-run lead in the first inning, thanks to Moss’ two-run double, but the Tigers loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom half. Yoenis Cespedes launched a drive to deep right-center, but Bourn ran it down on the warning track.
“That’s the play of the game right there,” Francona said. “That’s a grand slam in any other park other than maybe Houston, and if it gets down here, it is three runs. Instead, Michael gets us out of the inning, and Danny was great from there.”
Detroit has lost four straight after an 11-2 start.
“I don’t know if I would call anything a trend at this point,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “We’ve had a lot of low-scoring games, and a few high-scoring games mixed in. Obviously, you’re never happy with a game like this one.”
Moss followed up his first-inning double with a three-run homer in the fifth and a two-run shot in the ninth. He came into the game hitting .162 with two RBIs in 12 games.
“We knew Brandon was going to break out, and that was going to mean some big production,” Francona said. “When he gets going, he can carry a team.”
Lonnie Chisenhall hit a two-run homer in the eighth for the Indians, who entered with 11 homers – none with runners on base.
Shane Greene (3-1) had only allowed one earned run in 23 innings coming into the game, but gave up eight in four innings against Cleveland, starting with Moss’ double in the first.
“I felt really good, but I left some balls up and paid for it,” Greene said. “These are the best hitters in the world, and you have to make your pitches.”
The Indians made it 3-0 in the second, but the Tigers got a run back on Nick Castellanos’ homer in the bottom of the inning.
Cleveland broke the game open in the fifth with a little help from Detroit’s defense. With two on and none out, Jason Kipnis bunted down the third-base line. The ball briefly rolled foul, but Castellanos picked it up just as it came back onto the line.
Michael Brantley followed with an RBI single, and Carlos Santana made it 6-1 with a double that sailed over the head of J.D. Martinez in right. Moss then hit Alex Wilson’s first pitch for a three-run homer.
David Murphy doubled on Al Alburquerque’s first pitch in the eighth, and Chisenhall followed with a homer to right. Moss hit his second homer of the night off Alburquerque in the ninth.
Indians: C Yan Gomes (knee) is expected to miss at least another month. He was injured on a slide by Detroit’s Rajai Davis when the teams met earlier this month.
Detroit: Ausmus said RHP Justin Verlander remains in limbo. Verlander, who hasn’t pitched this season due a triceps strain, hasn’t thrown since a simulated game had to be cut short by fatigue and soreness last week.
It was the 114th anniversary of the first game in American League history, which saw the Chicago White Stockings beat the Cleveland Blues 8-2 in 90 minutes. Every other AL game that day was rained out.
Indians: Trevor Bauer (2-0, 0.95 ERA) will start Saturday afternoon against the Tigers. Bauer, who has never lost to Detroit in five career starts, has not allowed a run in 13 innings on the road this season.
Tigers: Alfredo Simon (3-0, 1.74) will pitch in Saturday’s Negro Leagues Tribute game. Simon is 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA in eight career appearances against the Indians, including three starts. Cleveland has scored more runs (20) against him than it has strikeouts (18).
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