By Brian Dulik
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
CLEVELAND _ Danny Salazar admitted being nervous to pitch against the New York Yankees for the first time. Once he allowed a home run, the right-hander calmed down and took command.
Salazar scattered four hits and struck out eight in 7 1/3 strong innings, allowing the Cleveland Indians to edge New York 2-1 on Wednesday night.
Brian McCann hit a solo homer in the second to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead, but it didn’t hold up as Cleveland won its fourth straight game.
“The Yankees and Boston were the teams that everybody followed in the Dominican Republic, so I was nervous to go against them tonight,” said Salazar, who has six consecutive quality starts. “They’re a really good team and have a lot of really good hitters. I respect them, but after that home run, I was trying to put everything I had into every pitch I made.”
Salazar (10-6), who allowed two hits in the first six innings, turned in his third straight impressive start. He is 2-0 with a 0.84 ERA since July 31, even though he walked a career-high five against New York.
The Indians tied the game on an RBI single by Francisco Lindor in the fifth, then plated the go-ahead run when Abraham Almonte singled home Carlos Santana one inning later.
“It’s funny because when he gives up a home run, it seems like Danny reaches back for another gear,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “He made a lot of good pitches and really had nice command, which allowed him to go deep tonight.”
Francona went to the bullpen with two on and one out in the eighth, calling on closer Cody Allen to face Alex Rodriguez, who hit into an inning-ending double play.
Allen finished the job in the ninth to record his first career five-out save. He struck out Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran to earn his 23rd save of the season.
“Cody is the guy you want facing the heart of their order,” Francona said. “It worked out perfect.”
Santana and Jose Ramirez each had two hits for the Indians, who have outscored their opponents 32-10 over the last four contests. Rookie shortstop Lindor and Ramirez also extended their hit streaks to seven games.
Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia (4-8) went six innings, allowing two runs in his eighth outing against his former team. Sabathia, who pitched for Cleveland from 2001-2008, is the all-time leader at Progressive Field with 51 wins and 702 strikeouts.
Indians OF Michael Brantley, who is 1 for 11 (.091) in his career against Sabathia, was given the night off. That didn’t stop him from lobbying Francona to pinch-hit. “He was sitting there, ready to hit, if the situation arose,” manager said. “But our guys had a really good game, so I figured I’d let them play it out.”
The Indians won the series opener 5-4 in 16 innings, prompting both squads to bypass batting practice Wednesday. “It took a toll probably on everybody’s energy,” Francona said. “When the guys play 16 innings and five hours, batting practice the next day is, by far, not the most important thing.”
Yankees: RHP Michael Pineda (right flexor strain), RHP Diego Moreno (right elbow inflammation), and LF Dustin Ackley (right lumbar strain) are on the 15-day disabled list.
Indians: 2B Jason Kipnis (right shoulder soreness) took swings in the batting cage and could be activated next week. The two-time All-Star has been on the DL since Aug. 3.
Yankees: RHP Nathan Eovaldi is tied for the AL lead with an .846 winning percentage, posting an 11-2 record through 22 starts.
Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer is 4-5 with a 5.60 ERA at Progressive Field this year, but won his last outing on Aug. 8 against Minnesota.