By Jordan Bastian and August Fagerstrom
CLEVELAND -- A few seasons ago, Danny Salazar and Ubaldo Jimenez were teammates with the Indians and trained together during the offseason. On Saturday at Progressive Field, they pitched against each other, with Salazar leading Cleveland to a 2-1 win over the Orioles.
The victory was the 13th in the past 18 games for the Indians.
"There were some guys on, but he didn't panic," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Salazar. "He kind of kept with what he knew were his strengths, had some swing-and-miss. … He's doing a good job. It's fun to watch. It's fun to watch young guys get better."
Salazar (6-1) piled up 10 strikeouts and held Baltimore to one run over seven innings, scattering six hits and issuing one walk in a 109-pitch effort. His lone blemish came in the third inning, when Orioles third baseman Manny Machado launched a first-pitch solo home run into the right-field seats.
Beyond that blast, Baltimore went 0-for-9 against Salazar with runners on base.
Jimenez, who was a key part of Cleveland's run to the American League Wild Card Game in 2013, picked up a no-decision after giving up one run on six hits in five innings for the Orioles. The lanky right-hander walked six, struck out five and allowed a third-inning RBI single to Nick Swisher.
"He's not an excuse maker, but he was just having trouble gripping the balls," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "Of course, Salazar didn't have any trouble, did he? It's just one of those days where it's windy, cool, slick. That's part of it."
Following Jimenez's exit, Carlos Santana helped push the Tribe to the win with an RBI double in the sixth inning against reliever Brad Brach. That gave Cleveland a 2-1 advantage, which set the stage for closer Cody Allen to earn his 13th save of the season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Trial and error: In leadoff hitter Machado's first at-bat, he swung at the first pitch and flew out to center field. In his second at-bat, he again swung at the first pitch, but this time with better results. His ninth home run of the season went over the right-field wall, giving the Orioles an early 1-0 lead and ending a streak of three consecutive strikeouts by Salazar.
"I was just being aggressive. I know he has an overpowering fastball and he was going to try and get ahead in counts quick," Machado said. "I was just trying to go out there and make some good contact, and the ball left the yard."
U-turn: Jimenez worked with a dozen baserunners in his five innings, but he played damage control for the Orioles. In the second inning, for example, Big U issued a leadoff walk and gave up a pair of singles to create a bases-loaded jam with one out. Jimenez then froze both Michael Bourn and Jose Ramirez with a two-seamer for back-to-back strikeouts to escape the inning unscathed.
"I like the way he didn't let it get away from him," Showalter said. "He didn't give in, he competed. I know it was a challenge for him with the walks, but he seemed to find a way to get out of it. We were fortunate on a couple of them on line drives right at somebody." More >
Two-out rally: Brach took over for Jimenez in the sixth inning and quickly retired the first two Tribe batters he faced. Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis (1-for-1 with three walks and a stolen base) then drew a walk to set up Cleveland's go-ahead rally. Santana followed by ripping a pitch to the wall in right field for an RBI double that put the Indians in front, 2-1.
Emphatic ending: With one out in the ninth inning, Allen struck out Matt Wieters with an 86-mph breaking ball, which hit the dirt, bounced off catcher Yan Gomes and skipped away. Chris Davis tried to advance from first to second base on the play, but Gomes scrambled to retrieve the ball and made a pinpoint throw to shortstop Mike Aviles. Davis was tagged out on the highlight-reel, game-ending double play.
"That's a nice play," Francona said. "Boy, [Gomes] comes out of there in a hurry. That's nice to see. They've got some big bats that are lining up there and, when you don't have to face them, that helps." More >
"You look up and there's a ton of pitches and there's a ton of traffic, but he kept us off the board for the most part. We just had the one [run]. I was glad -- any time you can get the starter out after five -- but we didn't have much to show for it. We had a couple really good opportunities and didn't do anything with it." -- Francona, on Jimenez
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Jimenez's performance wasn't pretty, but it was effective for five innings for Baltimore. It was also a unique pitching line in terms of baseball history. It marked only the 11th time since at least 1914 that a Major League pitcher gave up at least six hits and six walks, while allowing no more than one earned run in five or fewer innings. The previous such start was on July 13, 2008, when Baltimore righty Daniel Cabrera did so against Boston.
WHAT'S NEXT Orioles: Right-hander Bud Norris (1-4, 9.88 ERA) will make his first start since May 10 after spending three weeks on the disabled list with bronchitis. Norris is 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA in two career starts against Cleveland -- one in each of the past two seasons.
Indians: In the finale of a three-game set against the Orioles on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. ET, Cleveland will hand the ball to right-hander Carlos Carrasco (7-4, 3.92 ERA), who is in the midst of a strong stretch for the Tribe. In his past three outings, Carrasco has gone 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA, amassing 23 strikeouts against five walks in 21 innings.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. August Fagerstrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.