ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Danny Salazar gave Cleveland another strong start against Tampa Bay.
Salazar gave up three hits in six innings, Marlon Byrd hit one of three Cleveland home runs and the Indians beat the Rays 6-0 Thursday.
“Being aggressive,” Salazar said. “That’s the key today. They were swinging a lot, so I mixed in my fastball and changeup for the first pitch.”
Cleveland took two of three in the series, limiting the Rays to 15 hits. The Indians allowed 13 hits in sweeping a four-game series at Tropicana Field last June 29-July 2.
“Ugly loss,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Frustrating game, obviously. We didn’t do too many things well today.”
Salazar (2-0) struck out nine and walked three. Zach McAllister, Bryan Shaw and Trevor Bauer completed a five-hitter.
Chris Archer (0-3) gave up three runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. He is 0-6 with a 5.83 ERA in nine starts since beating Baltimore on Aug. 31.
Jose Ramirez singled to open the sixth and scored on Byrd’s first-pitch homer off Archer, which put Cleveland ahead 3-0 lead. Ramirez had a solo homer in the ninth.
“You can see why he’s so good, even when he’s not in mid-season form, maybe fighting himself a little,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of Archer. “He still has the ability to reach back. One of the better sliders in the game. We stayed after him, got his pitch count up and then once we kind of broke through we kept fighting.”
Rajai Davis made it 4-0 later in the sixth with a shot off Steve Geltz. Tyler Naquin had a seventh-inning run-scoring single.
After Francisco Lindor put the Indians up 1-0 on a fifth-inning RBI single, Archer helped prevent further damage by covering home after a wild pitch and tagging out Davis as he tried to score from third.
Archer worked out of jams in each of the first three innings, holding the Indians hitless in six at-bats with runners in scoring position over the stretch.
Cleveland got out of trouble in the bottom of the fifth thanks to replay. Hank Conger hit a one-out double, but was called out after a challenge and replay officials review that showed Lindor applied a tag when Conger briefly left the base.
“Frankie did a real good job of keeping the tag on him,” Francona said. “At the time of the game it’s a big play.”
All MLB teams will be taking part in Jackie Robinson Day on Friday.
“The impact that he had on baseball is everlasting,” Archer said. “He changed this game. It’s not only America’s past time now, it’s a universal past time because he opened up the doors for people of all races and all colors to play.”
The Hall of Famer broke baseball’s color barrier on April 15, 1947.
“I would hope that it’s special for everybody, whether you’re in baseball or not,” Francona said. “I get conflicted a little bit. A tribute to what he went through is off the charts of deserving. I just want to make sure that we don’t get caught up in ever like patting ourselves on the back for celebrating what baseball did, it’s him. To me it’s a reality check, the fact that we have to celebrate something treating people equal. To me that’s one of the most absurd things I’ve ever heard of. So, I guess it’s a good reminder and I hope that day is used maybe as much for that as anything else.”
The Indians return home Friday night to open three-game interleague series with the New York Mets. After having three games postponed and two other starts delayed last week in Cleveland and Chicago due to wintry weather, the forecast calls for mostly clear skies and temperatures in the mid to upper 50’s at game time.
“That will be really welcomed,” Francona said. “We were all checking that today.”
Indians: RHP Cody Anderson (0-0) and Mets RHP Bartolo Colon (0-1) are the scheduled starters Friday night.
Rays: RHP Jake Odorizzi (0-1) will go against Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale (2-0) in the opener of a three-game home series Friday night. Sale is from nearby Lakeland.