CLEVELAND -- For the third time in his four starts this season, Cleveland Indians pitcher Danny Salazar lasted less than five innings, and allowed at least four earned runs, as he gave up four in 4.1 innings of work in an 8-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field Tuesday night.
Salazar's earned run average actually increased from 7.71 heading into the game to 7.85 after the setback, his third straight loss.
"I thought, in the first three innings, he came out and threw the ball just like he was real aggressive," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He stuck in some fastballs, and off of that, he threw some real powerful breaking balls. Then, we got into the inning where they scored their runs. The second changeup was middle in, and he hit it a long way. From there, he looked real frustrated. The ball started getting up, but the first three innings were real good.
"Every pitcher has to make adjustments as you go through the order. That's why some are starters and some are relievers, but Danny has the weapons to go through the lineup multiple times. It's more about executing pitches."
Through the first three innings of work, Salazar allowed only two base runners and both reached on walks. Then, in the fourth, the Royals got to work on the Indians' young fire-baller.
After first baseman Eric Hosmer and designated hitter Billy Butler reached base on back-to-back singles, Salazar got left fielder Alex Gordon to pop out to Nick Swisher at first and then, fanned catcher Salvador Perez. However, Salazar could not keep Kansas City's bats silent.
Mike Moustakas worked a 1-1 count before Salazar tossed a second consecutive changeup that the third baseman smashed into the Royals' bullpen. That home run turned a 1-0 Indians lead into a 3-1 deficit from which they would not recover.
"Some pitches just didn't work," Salazar said. "He maybe didn't know, but maybe he was ready. That was a mistake by me, throwing that pitch. I should've thrown a fastball outside, no back-to-back changeups.
"Baseball is tough. This is not easy. Everybody that's up here, it's because he's good. You just have to learn how to do those little things and keep your head up."
Francona added, "With help and experience, he's going to learn how to do this better. Right now, he's having a tough time, getting tested a little bit, and we believe in, not only him, but everybody in there. We'll figure it out."
After the loss, Salazar talked about how he may be "tipping his pitches" to opposing hitters.
"Maybe, I'm doing something obvious and they know what pitch I'm going to throw exactly," Salazar said. "I've been feeling great, strong, aggressive out there. Today, I just felt like every pitch, I was totally focused on throwing it and being aggressive.
"With my changeup, sometimes, I open up my glove too much, and that's the only thing I'm noticing. When I go to throw my fastball, I open up my glove too, just to try and confuse them. Sometimes, I think I forget."