Danny Salazar Started Strong But Faded Against Tigers
Thursday’s matinée between the Indians and Tigers was one of the few match ups on the day that the baseball world would be paying attention to. Not only was this billed as a battle between two division rivals who should figure prominently in the late season playoff push, but it also featured two pitchers with jaw dropping stuff.
For the Tigers, that was former Cy Young and MVP award winner Justin Verlander, one of the best five pitchers in the game today. On the other side for the Indians, Danny Salazar. Billed as a breakout star and pitcher to watch in 2014, Salazar has the makeup to be one of the next really good, if not great, pitchers in Major League Baseball. Through the first four innings of Thursday’s game, it looked like the torch might be getting ready to be passed.
Then the fifth inning happened.
But before that, the Indians jumped out to a 3-1 lead. In the top of the fourth, David Murphy provided an RBI single to center that scored Asdrubal Cabrera to make it 1-0. The Tigers responded in kind during their half of the fourth when Austin Jackson hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Miguel Cabrera and make it a 1-1 game. Then in the top half of the fifth, Michael Brantley singled home Michael Bourn and Mike Aviles. Aviles had entered the game in the top of the third after Jason Kipnis was ejected for arguing balls and strikes.
With a 3-1 lead, the Indians were seemingly in control. Danny Salazar was mowing down the Tigers left and right and looked well on his way to his first victory of the season. Then, out of nowhere, Salazar lost all control. Back-to-back walks to Alex Avila and Alex Gonzalez set the stage for the at bat that would change the course of the game.
Following a pop out by Rajai Davis, the Tigers new second baseman, Ian Kinsler, stepped to the plate. Salazar grooved a 3-1 fastball down the center of the plate and Kinsler didn’t miss. He belted a three run homer to left center to put the Tigers up 4-3. Salazar then loaded the bases and gave up the fourth run of the inning on another sacrifice fly by Austin Jackson. By then, it was 5-3 Detroit and Salazar’s day was over. The Tigers added a 6th run in the 6th on an RBI Single by Kinsler.
From that point forward the Indians were playing catch up.
Michael Brantley gave it his best effort in the seventh inning. His two run home run to right made it a 6-5 game. Asdrubal Cabrera nearly tied the game a few pitches later. His fly ball to left missed being a home run by only a few feet. After that, the Tigers would escape the inning without giving up any more runs.
Detroit added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth on an infield single by Rajai Davis. Joe Nathan entered the game in the top of the ninth to pick up his second save of the season.