The Indians' offense overwhelmed right-hander James Shields, whose woes with the White Sox continued in Cleveland's 13-2 rout on Saturday night at Progressive Field. The victory sealed a series win for the American League Central-leading Tribe.
Mike Napoli, Juan Uribe and Tyler Naquin each homered for the Indians, who struck for eight runs off Shields in his 1 2/3 innings and finished with 15 hits. The early outpouring was more than sufficient for Tribe starter Danny Salazar, who logged 6 2/3 strong innings en route to his eighth win of the year.
Salazar struck out seven, walked one and allowed five hits, including a two-run home run toJose Abreu in the sixth.
"[Shields] was having trouble locating early and we took advantage of it," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Nap with a big swing, then we stayed after him. It's a good way to play. It doesn't happen very often, so you take it when you get it."
Since joining the White Sox, Shields has faced 62 hitters over 8 2/3 innings. He has produced one three-up, three-down frame, and has had five innings where he's faced at least seven hitters. Cleveland sent 19 batters to the plate in the first two innings, jumping out to an 8-0 lead.
"I've got to get better -- bottom line," Shields said. "You want to come into your new team and pitch well. Play well for these guys. I mean, I've said it before. This is a special team and I see these guys want to win every single night. It's disappointing."
Francisco Lindor, Uribe and Naquin each had three hits for the Indians. Uribe and Naquin each went deep in the sixth against Chicago reliever Matt Albers, pushing Cleveland to a 13-2 lead. Naquin picked up a career-high four RBIs, including two on a triple in the fourth, and was a double short of the cycle.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED First things first: After Carlos Santana drew a leadoff walk in the first inning, the Indians kept their foot on the accelerator against Shields. Jason Kipnis doubled high off the left-field wall, Lindor pulled a pitch to right for an RBI single and Napoli delivered a three-run shot (his 15th homer of the season). That four-batter span ignited a five-run rally in the first that set the tone for the Tribe's big offensive night.
"It's fun for the offense to come alive like that," Naquin said. "Everybody [was] swinging the bat real well, just hitting the ball all over the yard. It was a lot of fun." More >
From bad to worse:Melky Cabrera left the game in the top of the fourth when Jason Coats pinch-hit with runners on second and third and one out. Cabrera rolled his right wrist diving for Naquin's run-scoring single to left in the first inning, but X-rays were negative and he's day to day.
"When I hit the grass, I hit it with my wrist," said Cabrera through White Sox interpreter Billy Russo. "It's nothing serious, and that's good." More >
Salazar's escape: Salazar went 10 up, 10 down against Chicago before facing his first jam in the fourth. Adam Eaton singled, Abreu doubled and Coats worked a walk to load the bases with one out. The Tribe starter then overpowered Todd Frazier with a 97-mph high-and-tight fastball for a strikeout and used an 98-mph heater to induce an inning-ending groundout off the bat of Dioner Navarro.
"The way Danny was throwing the ball, his stuff was so good tonight," Francona said. "You see his velocity, but his changeup almost looked like a breaking ball at times."
And still it gets worse: Frazier's slump continued Saturday, as he finished 0-for-4 and struck out three times. The only chance the White Sox really had against Salazar, aside from Abreu's two-run homer in the sixth, came in the fourth with the bases loaded and one out but Frazier struck out swinging. Frazier is 8-for-71 over his last 19 games and hitting .198 overall.
QUOTABLE "I was very focused. One thing I put in my mind was the game was tied, 0-0. So every time I go out there, I was confident." -- Salazar, on working with a big lead
"I have seen him so good for so long in the American League East when he was going out against really good lineups, and staying for seven, eight, and nine innings. We want to win every game we can, but that's a tough night for him." -- Francona, on Shields' struggles
"Obviously something is going on. I don't really know what's going on. We're trying to go out there with a game plan and he can't find a way right now. I felt that he made good pitches but at the same time when everything is going wrong, everything is going to go wrong." --Navarro, on Shields
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Over his past four starts, including his final start with San Diego prior to being traded to Chicago, Shields has allowed 32 runs (31 earned) on 32 hits in 11 1/3 innings. The right-hander has 13 walks, six strikeouts and a .485 opponents' batting average in that span.
Naquin ended the day a double shy of a cycle, but reached base in all five plate appearances. The outfielder became the first Indians batter to have at least one homer, two walks, three hits and four RBIs in a game since Aug. 10, 2005 (Grady Sizemore).
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox: Left-hander Carlos Rodon (2-6, 4.28 ERA) tries to prevent the Cleveland sweep as he takes the mound for his 13th start this season in Sunday's series finale at 12:10 p.m. CT. He is 3-0 with a 1.52 ERA lifetime against the Indians.
Indians: Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (2-2, 3.40 ERA) will take the mound for the Tribe in the series finale at 1:10 p.m. ET. In his last two outings, Carrasco has recorded 14 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings in which he has allowed six runs.