CHICAGO -- Indians manager Terry Francona said he didn't expect Danny Salazar to last long in the hard-throwing right-hander's first start since coming off the disabled list with right elbow inflammation.
What he probably wasn't expecting was to be pulling his starter in the first inning, with four runs already across. Francona walked to the mound to take the ball from Salazar, a walk he would make many other times as seven relievers combined to toss a scoreless 8 1/3 innings in the Indians' 9-4 win over the White Sox on Tuesday.
Salazar looked healthy in his return but had no command, walking two and hitting a batter before allowing a three-run homer to Matt Davidson to end his night down 4-3 with two outs in the first.
"The good side of it is his arm's obviously feeling good, because he was firing it," Francona said. "He just had no idea where it was going."
Of all the 13 consecutive wins the Indians have tallied -- the longest streak in the Majors this season -- none showed the Tribe's depth more than Tuesday's game. Cleveland's bullpen entered the day with the lowest ERA in the Majors, and Nicholas Goody, Dan Otero, Zach McAllister, Joe Smith, Tyler Olson, Bryan Shaw and Shawn Armstrong combined to lower the unit's total to 2.92.
When the starting pitching staff, which had gone 11-0 with a 1.51 ERA in the first 12 games of the team's 13-game win streak, finally faltered, it was the strong bullpen that plugged the hole.
"I think they take a lot of pride anyway, but on a night like tonight, when they know pretty much everybody's going to pitch, if there's a hiccup along the way, you probably have a pretty good chance of losing," Francona said.
"That just shows the kind of depth we have," Indians catcher Yan Gomes said. "Everyone came in and did their job. To shut them out for the rest of the game, that's pretty hard to do."
Otero did the lion's share of the work, going two innings and working around a pair of hits and a walk to pick up the win.
"We're prepared for anything," Otero said. "We've been there before. We're prepared for anything from the first pitch on, and when these situations arise, you can't really mope or do anything about it. You just have to go in there and pitch."
Olson continued a brilliant start to his season, with 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Olson held Tim Anderson at third base in a two-run game in the sixth, getting Yolmer Sanchez to pop out before coming back out for the seventh. It was his 18th consecutive scoreless appearance, which set a new club record, passing Ricardo Rincon's 17 in 1999.
With the injuries to Andrew Miller and Boone Logan shorting the bullpen of some of its firepower, the development of arms such as Olson has allowed the group to maintain its effectiveness.
"I think Olson's outs were as big as anybody's," Francona said. "Sometimes, guys get chances. Nobody wants to see Boone ever get hurt, but Olly got a chance and he's kind of running with it and has become really reliable."