Salazar shuts down A's as Indians win 5-1
CLEVELAND (AP) Danny Salazar was within one out of his second career complete game. Instead he had to settle for another dominant performance by a Cleveland starting pitcher.
Salazar scattered five hits while allowing an unearned run in 8 2/3 innings and the Indians used a four-run sixth to beat the Oakland Athletics 5-1 on Friday night.
Salazar (8-4), who struck out eight, retired the first two hitters in the ninth before Ben Zobrist doubled. With the crowd of 28,539 on its feet, Salazar hit Billy Butler with an 0-2 pitch.
''I was a little tired and I tried to throw a little bit harder,'' said Salazar, who pitched a complete game against Detroit on Sept. 3, 2014.. ''I tried to slow myself down. I was one out away, but it was a good game.''
Cody Allen then got Ike Davis to foul out for his 19th save and third in three nights.
''You'd love to see Danny finish, but in that situation you want to give Cody a little wiggle room,'' manager Terry Francona said. ''Danny did a really good job, but it was time to get him out.''
Cleveland's four-game winning streak has been sparked by strong starting pitching, which has compiled a 0.90 ERA (three earned runs in 30 innings) and has limited opponents to a .181 average.
''It's exciting to see,'' Salazar said. ''You see one guy do it and you want to do the same thing.''
Oakland catcher Josh Phegley had one of the five hits off Salazar, a single in the fifth inning, but struck out in the eighth.
''My last at-bat I think he threw me five different pitches for strikes,'' Phegley said. ''Seemed like he had everything going.''
The Athletics' only run came in the first after an error by second baseman Jason Kipnis. After Billy Burns led off with a single, Mark Canha reached on Kipnis' error on a fielder's choice. Canha was forced at second on Josh Reddick's grounder and Zobrist walked to load the bases. Butler then had a sacrifice fly.
Kendall Graveman (6-5) allowed four runs in 6 2/3 innings for his first loss since June 13. Graveman's 19-inning scoreless streak ended on Yan Gomes' RBI double in the fourth that tied the score.
Kipnis drew a bases-loaded walk in the sixth off reliever Drew Pomeranz to put Cleveland ahead 2-1. Francisco Lindor walked to force in another run and Michael Brantley had a two-run single.
The Athletics have dropped nine of 14.
Carlos Santana singled off Graveman to start the sixth and took third on Giovanny Urshela's two-out single. Michael Bourn walked to load the bases. Pomeranz replaced Graveman but issued a five-pitch walk to Kipnis.
Lindor walked on a full-count pitch, prompting a visit from pitching coach Curt Young. Brantley lined the next pitch into center field for a 5-1 lead.
''We showed some patience and Brantley came through with the big hit,'' Francona said.
Friday's win was only the second series-opening victory at home for the Indians this season. Cleveland is 2-13 in series openers at Progressive Field.
Athletics: LHP Sean Doolittle (strained shoulder) played catch at 75 feet Thursday and had no issues. He's on the 15-day disabled list for the second time this season.
Indians: RHP Josh Tomlin, who had shoulder surgery in March, pitched 2 2-3 scoreless innings on a rehab assignment at Double-A Akron on Friday.
Athletics: RHP Chris Bassitt will be called up from Triple-A Nashville to start Saturday. He'll take the spot of RHP Jesse Hahn, who has a strained forearm.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco, who came within one out of a no-hitter in Tampa Bay on July 1, allowed four runs in the first inning and got the loss in his last start against Houston on Monday.