Salazar struggles; Angles rout Tribe, 12-3
Indians starter gives up six runs, as offense remains cold
CLEVELAND—Things were far from normal for the Indians Monday afternoon at Progressive Field.
Well, at least on the pitching side of things.
Making up a rained out game initially scheduled for June 18 against the first place L.A. Angels, Tribe starter Danny Salazar (6-7, 4.19 ERA) was tagged for six runs on eight hits through 4 2/3 innings, as the Wahoos fell to the Halos, 12-3.
“They came in and did what they were supposed to do,” manager Terry Francona said.
Shutting down Angels hitters through the first four innings, Los Angeles exploded for six runs off the 23 year-old Salazar in the fifth.
Opening the frame with back-to-back singles by C.J. Cron and Hank Conger, left fielder Collin Cowgill gave L.A. their first run of the contest on a RBI groundout. The run snapped a 21 scoreless inning streak by Salazar, having come into the ballgame off a complete game shutout in his previous start against Detroit.
One batter later, Kole Calhoun put the team up by three with a two-run homer to the seats in right.
They were far from finished.
David Freese capped off the six run inning sending a three-run home run to the bleachers to end Salazar’s worst start of his career.
“Early on he was working from behind, but he made pitches,” Francona said. “And then he got to that inning. When he got to two outs, he just never came in to Freese. He threw a breaking ball away that he went out and got. Probably wasn’t a bad pitch, but he never came in to get him off of that pitch.”
It marked the first time a Tribe starter allowed at least six runs since May 18 against Oakland.
Offensively, Indians bats remained cold as all three Cleveland runs came off the bat of Lonnie Chisenhall. Trailing by six, the third baseman cut the deficit to 6-3 on two hits. First, on a two-run homer off Angels starter Jered Weaver (16-8, 3.58 ERA) in the bottom half of the fifth, and then on a RBI single in the sixth.
That would be all the Halos ace would allow, tossing a quality start surrendering just the three runs on six hits over six innings of work. The Indians have now scored three runs or fewer in 21 of their last 30 games.
“He still knows how to pitch and he really commands,” Francona said of Weaver. “He changes speeds, throws a bunch of different pitches and doesn’t give in. He’s smart and knows what he wants to do. Even with not quite the velocity he’s had, he’s still good.”
Despite cutting into the Angels lead, L.A. routed the Tribe 6-0 over the final three innings, highlighted by back-to-back homers by Albert Pujols and Howie Kendrick in the ninth off Indians rookie Bryan Price.
“We got to two back, but then we gave it right back to them,” Francona said. “That makes for a long day.”
With just 20 games left in the regular season, the loss sends Cleveland (74-68) four games in back of the Detroit Tigers in the A.L. Wild Card race.
Up next for the Indians: The Tribe welcomes divisional opponent Minnesota into town for a three-game series beginning Tuesday night. Right-hander Trevor Bauer (5-7, 4.10 ERA) gets the start in the series opener against Twins rookie Trevor May (1-4, 9.38 ERA) at 7:05 p.m.
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Francona/Callaway are abusing pitchers and paying for it.