Reaction: Salazar, Perez Help Cleveland Indians Take Down Twins

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The Indians took on Phil Hughes and the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on Saturday, behind Danny Salazar‘s stellar first start of the season. Salazar went just over six innings, earning the win as he allowed just six hits and two walks for two runs, while striking out 12 batters. Hughes didn’t fare quite as well, as he allowed four runs on eight hits and a walk, with just three strikeouts.

Key Moments
Third Inning
Roberto Perez got the scoring started for the Tribe in the third inning, when he led off with a solo home run to center field. It was a short-lived lead, however, as the Twins tied it up in the bottom of the inning. Eduardo Nunez doubled to left field, before scoring on a two-out RBI double off of the bat of Torii Hunter.

Fourth Inning
The Indians took the lead again in the fourth inning, after Brandon Moss doubled to right field. He scored on Lonnie Chisenhall‘s sacrifice fly, putting the Tribe up 2-1

Seventh Inning
With one out in the seventh inning, Perez and Jose Ramirez had a pair of back-to-back singles. Jason Kipnis added a single of his own to score Perez and advance Ramirez to third. During Michael Brantley‘s at-bat, Caleb Thielbar released a wild pitch that made it 4-1 Indians. The Twins got one of those runs back in the bottom half of the inning, when catcher Kurt Suzuki launched a lead-off home run to cut the Tribe’s lead to two.

The Positives
Salazar was impressive, the Tribe’s lineup showed signs of life, and the bullpen looked the best it had in a while. Nick Hagadone was impressive, pitching two innings of shutout baseball while striking out one. Cody Allen also struck out the side in the ninth inning, despite walking a batter. If Allen and Hagadone can get back to where they were this spring, the Tribe’s bullpen will turn into a weapon rather than a liability. Offensively, Perez was the star, as he went 3-for-3 with an RBI and two runs. Ramirez was also 2-for-3, which is a positive sign after his early struggles.

The Negatives
Michael Bourn went 0-for-4, dropping his average to .190 (although it’s a small sample size, of course). Bourn looked great throughout spring, so hopefully this is just a fluke. David Murphy also went 0-for-4. Both outfielders will need to start contributing soon.

Check It Out
– Kipnis broke an 0-for-16 slump with his RBI double in the seventh inning.

– Heading into Saturday’s game, the Tribe had the second-highest strikeout total in the American League, with 92 strikeouts. Between Salazar and the bullpen, the Tribe tacked on 14 more strikeouts against the Twins.

– On Sunday, T.J. House will face off against Trevor May. In his first start, May went 5.1 innings, allowing five runs and striking out four. House last just 1.1 innings in his first outing, but allowed six runs. Both pitchers will be looking to bounce back in the final game of the series.

Next: Cleveland Indians: Today’s Game Feels Like a Big One

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