The Cleveland Indians defeated the Chicago White Sox by a final score of 3-1 on a cool afternoon on the south side of Chicago. The game was played in the afternoon to observe Yom Kippur.
The Indians now trail the Texas Rangers who fell to the Oakland A’s 9-8 by 2.5 games for the top wild card spot but remain 1.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays who shut out the Minnesota Twins 3-0.
They remain a game ahead of the Baltimore Orioles who defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 but pass the New York Yankees who were defeated by the Boston Red Sox 8-4 to drop to 2 games behind the Rays. They also gain ground on the Kansas City Royals who fell to the Detroit Tigers 6-2.
The Indians fans were tantalized once again by the dominance of Danny Salazar. He was on a pitch limit of around 80 pitches and with 2-out in the 3rd he surrendered a 2-out single to Dayan Vicideo. With his pitch count at 78 he was removed from the game but his performance was nothing short of spectacular prior to departing.
He held the White Sox scoreless on only 4 hits striking out 9 (all swinging) and walking 2. A total of 71.8% (51 of 78) of his pitches were strikes and 20% of his strikes (16 of 78) were of the swing and miss variety.
According to Brooksbaseball.net Pitch f/x data Salazar threw 59 four seam fastball and all of his swing and misses came on this pitch. His 4-seam averaged 96.95 mph and maxed out at 99.35 mph.
It was an impressive afternoon for Salazar as he became the first Indians pitcher (using baseball-reference play index which goes back to 1916) since 1916 to strike out 9 or more batters in 3.2 or less innings of work.
Others who came close to this mark were Sonny Siebert (7K in 3.1 IP) against the Kansas City Athletics on June 13, 1964 and Bob Feller (7K in 3.2 IP) against the Philadelphia Athletics on May 14, 1940.
In his last start against the New York Mets Salazar struck out 8 in 4 innings of work joining only Jeremy Sowers (07/13/2008 vs Tampa Bay Rays) and Luis Tiant (08/17/1967 vs Washington Senators) as Indian pitchers with 8 strike outs in 4 innings of work.
Salazar along with the rest of the indians pitching staff have fanned an impressive 1,224 batters. The most for the franchise dating back to 1915. Thanks to Jordan Bastian for the information.
The Indians pitching staff has 1,224 strikeouts this season, marking the most in one year for the franchise, dating back to 1916.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) September 14, 2013
The game was scoreless entering the top of the 4th inning but Asdrubal Cabrera singled and stole second to put himself into scoring position. Drew Stubbs delivered a 2-out RBI single to put the Tribe up 1-0.
The lead was extended in the top of the 5th inning. Hector Santiago‘s afternoon came to an end after walking Nick Swisher to begin the inning and Jason Kipnis followed with a single. He was replaced by Jake Petricka who fanned Carlos Santana for the first out of the inning. Ryan Raburn who had 5 RBI Thursday evening delivered again with a double to score Swisher and Kipnis moved up to 3rd. Asdrubal Cabrera was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Michael Brantley delivered a sacrifice fly.
After getting the final out of the 4th inning Nick Hagadone remained in the game to face the left handed hitting Jordan Danks who was walked on 5 pitches. Bryan Shaw replaced Hagadone and with 1-out committed an error on an Alexi Ramirez bunt to put runners on 1st and 2nd with 1-out. After striking out Adam Dunn for the 2nd out Paul Konerko delivered an RBI single to cut the lead to 3-1.
The key moment of the game came in the bottom of the 7th inning. Cody Allen came in to replace Bryan Shaw and allowed a leadoff single to Jordan Danks who promptly stole second base. Marcus Semien sent a short fly ball that fell in front of Michael Bourn but Danks was unable to score as he had to wait to see if the ball would fall. Alexei Ramirez hit a sharp liner right at Asdrubal Cabrrera for the first out of the inning.
With left hander Adam Dunn due up Allen was replaced by Marc Rzepczynski. Marcus Semien stole second to put the tying run in scoring position. Rzepczynski was up to the task and fanned Dunn for the second out of the inning.
The Indians were not out of the woods yet and still had to get past Paul Konerko. Indians manager Terry Francona went back to his bullpen again and called on Matt Albers who got Konerko to ground out to 3rd to end the inning.
Chris Perez came in to work the ninth inning and continued to conjure up images of former closer Joe Borowski. Jordan Danks led off the inning driving a ball to deep center field but Michael Bourn raced back to the wall and made a leaping catch for the first out.
After Bourn’s defensive gem Perez struck out Marcus Semien for the 2nd out of the inning and it appeared as if he might have an uneventful end of a game.
Konerko owns Indians pitching in his career posting a slash line of .278/.354/.497 and 48 home runs including a career mark of .250 (4 for 16) with 2 home runs versus Perez.
With the worst possible outcome firmly in mind Konerko sent a line drive to straight away center field that was directly in the path of Michael Bourn who made the catch for the final out giving the Indians the much needed victory and earning Perez his 24th save on the season.
The Bad: Cody Allen continues to struggle allowing 2 of the 3 batters he faced to reach base. Over his last 4 appearances he has now allowed 8 of 14 hitters to reach base including 2 home runs.