CLEVELAND (AP) – Danny Salazar learned an important lesson when he was sent to the minors before the season began.
“I knew I didn’t have a very good spring training and maybe that was coming,” he said. “It was clear that I needed to earn a spot.”
That’s exactly what the right-hander has done since being called up in mid-April. Salazar pitched impressively into the eighth inning to reach a career high in wins as the Cleveland Indians beat the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 on Saturday.
Carlos Santana had a tiebreaking double in the sixth, which was enough for Salazar and two relievers to finish off the Indians’ seventh win in 10 games.
Salazar (6-1) struck out 10 and allowed six hits and a run in seven-plus innings. Baltimore’s only run came on Manny Machado’s third-inning homer. Salazar hasn’t lost since May 5, a span of six starts.
Instead of pouting about getting demoted, Salazar decided hard work was the answer.
“Right now, so far, I’m much better,” he said. “I have my own routine, something I didn’t have in spring training. I’m working on it every day. That’s helped me a lot.”
Brad Brach (3-2) retired the first two hitters in the sixth before walking Jason Kipnis. Santana’s line drive landed in the right field corner and Kipnis scored on a headfirst dive into the plate.
Cody Allen walked Chris Davis with one out in the ninth, but he then struck out Matt Wieters. The pitch was in the dirt and Davis was thrown out advancing to second for Allen’s 13th save.
Nick Swisher had an RBI single in the third for the Indians, who are 15-7 since May 14. Cleveland (27-28) can move to .500 for the first time since the fourth game of the season with a win Sunday.
Salazar came out for the eighth but was pulled after walking Ryan Flaherty, his only free pass of the game. Bryan Shaw retired the next three hitters.
The Indians have been waiting for the 25-year-old Salazar to put it all together since first calling him up two years ago.
“He’s doing a good job,” manager Terry Francona said. “It’s fun to watch young guys get better. I think as they get better, they start to understand the commitment and the accountability and things like that.”
Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez was in trouble throughout his five innings, but allowed only one run. The right-hander gave up six hits, walked six, struck out five, threw 107 pitches and stranded nine runners.
Prior to the game the Indians inducted the late Hank Peters into their Hall of Fame. Peters, who died in January, was general manager of both the Orioles and Indians.
SIGN HIM UP
Francona is a manager who goes to his bullpen frequently so it’s easy to see why he’s a fan of Oakland switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, who made his major league debut Friday. “That’s probably one of my dream scenarios,” he said with a laugh. “That’s pretty cool. I don’t know how in the world somebody can do that.”
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and wide receiver Torrey Smith visited with Orioles OF Adam Jones before the game. Both players were in Cleveland for Browns cornerback Joe Haden’s celebrity softball game Saturday night.
Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman (right shoulder tendinitis), who is on a rehabilitation assignment at Class-A Frederick, could be activated off the 15-day disabled list late next week.
Indians: RHP Scott Atchison (sprained left ankle) will throw a bullpen session Sunday. He’s been on the 15-day disabled list since May 28.
Orioles: RHP Bud Norris will be activated from the 15-day disabled list to start against the Indians. Norris, who is 1-4 with a 9.88 ERA, came down with bronchitis last month and hasn’t pitched since May 10.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco looks to match a career-high four-game winning streak when he faces the Orioles in the series finale. He held Kansas City to one run and struck out eight in seven innings Tuesday.
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