Rookie Rocket: Danny Salazar wins major league debut as Indians down Dickey, Blue Jays 4-2

  • Article by: TOM WITHERS , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: July 11, 2013 - 3:20 PM

CLEVELAND — Still soaked after being doused with beer, Danny Salazar picked up the official lineup card he was given as a memento of his first win.

"I didn't know I would get this," he said at his locker.

Salazar began to fold it in half and tuck the card into his backpack when he was stopped by clubhouse manager Tony Amato.

It was the rookie's only mistake.

Salazar pitched six superb innings and won his major league debut, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.

Salazar, who began the season in Double-A ball, allowed just one run and two hits. The right-hander didn't give up a hit until the sixth, struck out seven and showed poise from his first pitch to his last.

The hard-throwing 23-year-old was shocked at being called up, but he pitched with the nerves of a seasoned veteran and gave the Indians a much-needed strong outing.

"He was terrific," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "That can be what he is. The kid has special stuff."

Salazar was brought up for one start. He's headed back to Triple-A Columbus, but it may not be long before Salazar is back in Cleveland on a more permanent basis.

"We think the kid has a very bright future," Francona said.

Chris Perez gave up a run in a shaky ninth but got his 11th save as the Indians beat knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (8-10) for the second time this season.

Asdrubal Cabrera homered in the first off Dickey and Lonnie Chisenhall drove in a run in Cleveland's two-run sixth.

Jose Bautista hit an RBI double for Toronto's only run off Salazar, who admitted being nervous during his pregame warmup in the bullpen.

But once he was on the mound, Salazar was unflappable — and for a while, unhittable.

Unleashing a fastball that registered 99 mph on the stadium radar gun, he coasted through the first five innings, striking out seven and not letting the Blue Jays get many good swings. A few of his pitches were way out of the strike zone, but just when it appeared he might come unraveled, Salazar settled down.

Salazar's seven strikeouts were the most by a Cleveland pitcher in his debut since Luis Tiant struck out 11 New York Yankees on July 19, 1964.

"We couldn't do anything with Salazar," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's got a great arm. I tip my hat to the young kid."

Salazar held Toronto without a hit until the sixth, when Josh Thole, batting just .108 slapped a 1-2 pitch into left. Salazar received a nice ovation from Cleveland fans, who haven't seen many quality starts lately from the Indians' rotation. Munenori Kawasaki sacrificed and Salazar retired Jose Reyes on a liner to second.

Bautista then tied it 1-1 by ripping an RBI double to left. Salazar recovered and got the final out before heading to the dugout, where he was warmly greeted by teammates. Salazar took some pressure off a tired Indians bullpen dragging itself to the All-Star break.

Salazar said he prayed the Indians would score in the bottom inning to get him a win, and Cleveland, which squandered some early threats against Dickey, came through with two runs.

"I've been waiting for this moment for seven years," said Salazar, who was signed by the Indians in 2006 and underwent Tommy John surgery in 2010. "I threw five innings without hits. After the game, all the guys were throwing beers all over me. That's fantastic."

Salazar was given two souvenir balls: his first strikeout and the final out. He said "everyone" in his hometown of Cabrera, Dominican Republic gathered in a local park to watch him pitch.

Rich Hill worked a hitless seventh, Cody Allen struck out the side in the eighth and Perez allowed Colby Rasmus' RBI single and put the tying run at first before getting Rajai Davis on a liner to left for the final out.

The Indians pushed two runs across in the sixth against Dickey to take a 3-1 lead and make Salazar a winner.

Chisenhall came through with a blooper to left with the bases loaded that hung in the air long enough that the runners had to freeze.

When it dropped, Michael Brantley sprinted home and left fielder Davis, thinking he had a chance at a forceout at home, sailed his throw to the backstop. The ball ricocheted toward the plate, and Ryan Raburn scored from second before the Blue Jays could retrieve it.

Cleveland tacked on an insurance run in the eighth on Carlos Santana's RBI triple.

Cabrera, who had two hits on Wednesday to snap an 0-for-20 slump, drove an 0-2 pitch from Dickey over the wall in right in the first to make it 1-0.

NOTES: Last year at the break, Dickey was 12-1 with the New York Mets. ... Perez is 5-for-5 in saves since coming off the disabled list on June 27. ... Indians 1B Nick Swisher, bothered by a sore left shoulder, didn't start. He's in a 21-of-101 (.208) slump. ... Blue Jays INF Brett Lawrie (sprained left ankle) played his second straight game at second base on a minor league rehab assignment at Triple-A Buffalo on Wednesday. Lawrie has played third since joining the Blue Jays in 2011, but the team is considering a position change when he comes off the disabled list. ... Reynolds went 0 for 3 and is batting a major-league low .165 (21 of 127) since May 30.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final123456789RHE
Minnesota000000000040
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Is Paul Molitor the best choice to manage Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close