Indians improve to 11-19
It seemed as if this script had been written before, like a Hollywood retread meant to lull us back in submission. Danny Salazar gave up a home run to Brian Dozier to lead off the game, a shot down the left field line that hit the foul pole. We had seen this show before, or so we thought. But while today's inciting incident was familiar, what happened next was far from ordinary. After Dozier finished rounding the bases, Salazar would go on to face 21 more batters during his outing, and he would retire all 21 of them in order.
For the day, Salazar went 7 incredible innings, surrendering only a hit (that solo HR) while striking out 11 Twins. To call it a gem was an understatement. He left the game having thrown 102 pitches, but if the baseball gods had given him just a few more inches the left on Dozier's ball to left, we might have been watching something for the history books unfold. The fact that that wasn't the case, doesn't sully his performance one bit.
According to Game Score, this was Danny's best outing of his career, scoring an 82. His previous best was an 80 while throwing a complete game shutout against Detroit last year. In that game he gave up 8 hits, but both outings shared a very important feature - high strikeouts and no walks. The Twins were simply overpowered today. It's incredibly hard to sit on a mid 80's changeup when you know a 97MPH fastball could appear at any moment and today was a perfect example of that.
But Danny didn't win this game by himself. The Tribe offense came right out and scored a run of their own in the bottom of the 1st, after the first 3 batters in the inning reached base safely. They might have managed more than that, but with the bases loaded Nick Swisher struck out looking on what seemed like only 1 strike. He took a borderline pitch to start off the inning for a strike, fouled off pitch number two and then took ball two for strike three. I know, debating balls and strikes, puppies, all that jazz. But it was a momentum killer that looked like it could stale the offense.
The Indians kept nipping at Trevor May's heels, though. They put a runner on in each of the next two innings before finally breaking it open in the 4th. With two outs and runner on 1st, Jason Kipnis tripled, Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley singled before Lonnie Chisenhall capped the scoring with shot over the right field wall for a three run home run. They added two more the next inning with an RBI single from Kipnis and a sac fly from Santana. The inning might have continued but Kipnis was thrown out stealing 2nd base and, despite what appeared to be a missed tag, the call was upheld after a review.
It should also be noted that David "Magic Hands" Murphy went 4 for 4 today. If he is doing nothing more than creating a little bit of trade value, I'm more than happy to see if happen.
Zach McAllister picked up where Salazar left off, striking out three and walking a batter in the 8th before giving way to Cody Allen in the 9th. Yes, Allen gave up a run, but it came on a walk, catcher's indifference and a bloop single. Hardly anything to write home about, but it keep's Cody's ERA at a peculiar 9.00. All that mattered in the end was that Indians finished the day with a victory, giving moms all over Northern Ohio something to smile about. Go Tribe and Go Moms!
Win Expectancy Chart
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