CHICAGO -- Jose Ramirez churned out four hits, scored four runs and launched a homer against the White Sox on Friday night, powering an Indians lineup that has more than found its rhythm over the past week. With the 9-3 win over Chicago, Cleveland has run its winning streak to
CHICAGO -- Jose Ramirez churned out four hits, scored four runs and launched a homer against the White Sox on Friday night, powering an Indians lineup that has more than found its rhythm over the past week. With the 9-3 win over Chicago, Cleveland has run its winning streak to eight games.
Ramirez's offensive outpouring, which included his 18th home run of the season and three RBIs, helped back a strong start from Danny Salazar. The right-hander struck out eight over six-plus innings for the American League Central-leading Indians, who remain two games above the Royals. Kansas City has won nine straight, making the Tribe's recent run even more critical.
"This is like last year," said Salazar, referring to Cleveland's 14-game winning streak last summer. "We have a really long winning streak and we feel like we're competing against each other. You don't want to go out there and be the guy that ruined the streak. So, that's what we're doing right now. We're working. We're competing as players, as a team, against us and against the other teams, too."
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Salazar's lone setback came in the seventh, when the right-hander walked rookie Yoan Moncada before allowing Matt Davidson's 20th homer of the season. Davidson's shot dropped deep into the left-field stands, traveling a projected 412 feet, per Statcast™. Moncada added an RBI double in the eighth on a liner to right that had a 110-mph exit velocity.
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"As good as it was to see him in his first start [off the disabled list], to start backing it up, that's when it starts to get exciting," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Salazar. "And I thought he did all that. He got a pitch up that that kid hit a long way, which he's done a few times. But eight strikeouts, two walks and he held his stuff. We're really, really pleased."
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The bulk of Cleveland's damage was done against White Sox lefty Derek Holland, who was charged with six runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. With that showing, Holland dropped to 1-6 with a 9.46 ERA in his past 10 starts -- after opening the year with a 2.37 ERA in his first 10 turns for Chicago.
After Holland's exit, Carlos Santana (14th of the season) and Michael Brantley (eighth) connected for solo home runs in the sixth and eighth innings, respectively. Yan Gomes, Giovanny Urshela and Brandon Guyer each had an RBI for the Indians as well. Cleveland's lineup ended with zero strikeouts for the first time since May 3, 2014 (also against the White Sox). Holland, Chris Beck and Juan Minaya combined to induce five total swinging strikes, while on the other side, Salazar had a season-high 23 of his own.
"The way I'd put it for myself --- we should be reported for the abuse we're putting on our relievers," Holland said. "It's frustrating. My execution is what killed me. That's what takes me out of the game. I'm frustrated with the way I'm pitching. I have to do better. This is killing our bullpen."
This was the second time in the Majors this season that a team failed to record a strikeout. Oakland didn't strike out any Mariners batters on July 6.
"I was looking at the sheet and they didn't strike out today, they didn't have one strikeout," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said of the Indians. "They were battling and put together really solid at-bats. That's obviously a really good hitting lineup and [Holland] wasn't able to kind of finish it to get us through a little bit deeper. And they capitalized on some pitches over the plate."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Pick your poison: Francona loves batting Ramirez fifth because it forces teams to think about pitching to slugger Edwin Encarnacion or risk pitching to Ramirez with traffic. With one out and first base open in the fifth, the White Sox opted to intentionally walk Encarnacion to load the bases. Ramirez responded by pulling a pitch into left field for a two-run single, igniting a four-run inning for the Tribe.
"If they're going to walk people, you'd like them to pay for it," Francona said. "And to me, [Ramirez] is the ultimate protector."
"I was just trying to get a ground ball, double play [to Ramirez]," Holland said. "Thought everything was going well. Me and Narvy [catcher Omar Narvaez] were definitely on the same page. I thought that pitching-wise I had the right stuff, it just comes down to execution. I missed a couple spots."
No-no thank you: Facing the White Sox on Wednesday, Cubs starter Jacob Arrieta carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning. Salazar did the same against Chicago on Friday night, holding the South Siders to an 0-for-13 showing before Narvaez and Alen Hanson connected for consecutive one-out singles in the fifth. Unfazed, Salazar whiffed Tim Anderson and Adam Engel to escape unscathed.
"I was confident. Ramirez is the best hitter on the team now, and I felt confident for Jose. He's had a very good year this year, and I'm hoping he keeps it up. Jose, he's very important for the team." -- Santana, on the White Sox walking Encarnacion to load the bases for Ramirez
"I didn't say anything. I kept my voice as calm as possible. I thought it was unprofessional to basically walk out and tell me he's going to show me up. I didn't do anything, and the only thing I asked him was, 'Don't flinch like that.' You can't do that. It's showing me that that's a strike, but then you're not decided by that." -- Holland, on an argument with home-plate umpire Bill Welke in the fourth inning
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Holland became the first White Sox starter to finish with zero strikeouts in a game since James Shields on Aug. 13, 2016, against Miami. It was the first time Holland had done so in a start since May 5, 2016, with the Rangers against Toronto, a start in which he allowed 11 earned runs. He induced just two swinging strikes on 84 pitches Friday against the Indians, according to Statcast™.
Through the team's first 100 games, the White Sox have only had their starting pitcher go seven innings or more nine times.
Indians: Ace Corey Kluber (8-3, 2.74 ERA) will start for the Tribe in a 7:10 p.m. ET clash with the White Sox on Saturday at Guaranteed Rate Field. Kluber has notched double-digit strikeouts in eight of his last 10 games, including a 14-strikeout showing on Sunday. He has a 1.52 ERA with 108 strikeouts and 13 walks in 71 innings in those 10 starts.
White Sox:Miguel Gonzalez (5-9, 4.60 ERA) has been the club's best starter of late and will take the mound for the 6:10 p.m. CT start. He has posted back-to-back quality starts since the All-Star break, including going 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball in his last start against the Cubs.
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Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.