Salazar steady through rough stretches

CLEVELAND -- When Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Danny Salazar got into a jam in Friday night's 12-5 win over the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field, the second-year Major Leaguer battled his way out of trouble and kept the opposing hitters at bay.

Salazar twice worked around fielding errors on second baseman Elliot Johnson and a bases-loaded no-out situation in the fourth inning. He spread out seven hits and three earned runs over five innings of work, had six strikeouts and induced two double plays.

"I thought he did an outstanding job of damage control," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He had a couple leadoff walks, a couple balls that we didn't turn at second, and then, once he had his hands full, I thought he really threw the ball well.

"There was one inning with the bases loaded, nobody out, a 3-0 count, and he ends up pitching out of it. That takes pretty exceptional stuff to do that, so that's the good part. Throwing that many pitches in that few of innings, some of its walks. Some of its deep counts. Some of it is we didn't make all of the plays."

Salazar induced the first double play in the top of the first inning.

After Chicago center fielder Adam Eaton led off the game with a walk and second baseman Gordon Beckham singled to center field, Salazar settled in and struck out first baseman Jose Abreu swinging before getting the double play off the bat of designated hitter Adam Dunn.

In the second inning, the White Sox got a leadoff walk, but Salazar got shortstop Alexei Ramirez to ground a ball to his counterpart, Asdrubal Cabrera. However, that was the first time Johnson dropped a flip throw from Cabrera. That led to three White Sox runs, but Salazar struck out the final two batters of the inning to limit the damage.

Two innings later, a similar play happened when Johnson dropped another throw from Cabrera on a fielder's choice off the bat of Marcus Semien. But this time around, Salazar did not allow a run, as he got Eaton to ground into a double play.

"He did (well)," center fielder Michael Brantley said. "He kept the ball down when he had to. He got some keep double plays. They were huge for us. He's working real hard each and every day. It's fun to play behind him. It was a good day today."

First baseman Nick Swisher added, "You go out and you pop five in the first inning, you're feeling pretty good about yourself as a starter. Danny got himself into a couple jams and really, really got himself out. He's got plus stuff, electric. He's Danny Sala-Star now."

The Indians gave Salazar a five-run lead after the bottom of the first inning, and while he appreciated the offensive support, he had to warm back up after sitting for nearly 40 minutes.

"The first inning was good," Salazar said. "The second inning, for us, when we were hitting, was a really long inning, so I cooled down in the dugout. It was a little bit tough to warm up again, but we came back and got us out.

"It's really good, but sometimes, you can get too comfortable. In your mind, the game has to be even, 0-0, because if you feel comfortable with them, you start to making bad pitches. If you don't really focus on what you're doing, you're going to do badly."

Salazar credited his ability to get out of jams to focusing on "every pitch, attacking, competing, trying not to let their guys score."

"Tonight, and my second-last outing in San Francisco, I was trying to be consistent and have the same arm speed with every pitch," Salazar said. "My slider tonight, was really great, and I got a couple good ground balls, a couple double plays.

"Tonight, I was throwing it down in the zone and they were just hitting ground balls with it."


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