ST. PETERSBURG -- Danny Salazar silenced the Rays' bats and his Indians teammates clubbed three home runs in a 6-2 win over the Rays on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field.
Salazar started for the Indians and was perfect through five innings before walking Asdrubal Cabrera to start the sixth. Two outs later, Curt Casali broke up the no-hit bid with a double to left-center. Cabrera also struck for an RBI double against the Indians right-hander in the eighth inning.
"He actually worked behind the majority of the night," Indians manager Terry Francona said, "but he had such a good fastball and he used it a lot. And, when he got behind in the count, he still challenged the hitters and got by on it for the most part."
Salazar allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits over 7 2/3 innings, finishing with two strikeouts and two walks to improve to 7-3 on the season.
"Obviously similar to last night a little bit, credit good pitching on their end," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Our bats are just a little quiet right now. That guy Salazar's stuff is as good as anybody's in baseball."
Erasmo Ramirez started for the Rays and save for the solo home run he surrendered to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis in the third, he pitched well, allowing just one run on two hits and a walk while striking out seven.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Making his case: Kipnis continued his impressive two-month offensive tear in the third inning, when he lifted a 1-1 pitch from Ramirez into the right-field seats for a two-out, solo home run. The blast marked Kipnis' sixth home run and 104th hit of the season, strengthening his case for inclusion on the American League All-Star team. More >
Erasmo's return: Ramirez made his first start since June 20 at Cleveland when he had to leave the game with a right groin strain. At the time, the Rays did not know if they would need to put the right-hander on the disabled list. Last week's day off allowed the Rays to push back Ramirez's next start until Tuesday and he looked healthy -- and effective -- in 5 2/3 innings of work. More >
Lindor flashes leather: Indians rookie shortstop Francisco Lindor showed off his defensive prowess to end the fourth inning. Evan Longoria hit a sharp grounder to Lindor's left, but the shortstop raced it down and snared the ball with a diving grab. The ball fell out of his glove for a moment, but Lindor retrieved it, quickly shifted to his feet and threw Longoria out at first base by a step. More >
"When he hit it, I knew it had a chance to get in-between us," Lindor said. "But, as soon as it hit the ground, it kind of slowed down. That's when I dove for it. It did [pop out of my glove]. It popped out, but it was right there. I had to stand up. When I put my hands to push myself to get up, the ball was right there."
Patience and power: With one out in the eighth inning, Michael Brantley worked through a 12-pitch at-bat against Yates that included seven foul balls. Cleveland's left fielder sliced the final offering into the left-center-field gap for his 23rd double of the season. One pitch later, Murphy launched a towering blast to right that barely cleared the wall for a two-run homer.
"I thought it helped Murph," Francona said of Brantley's long at-bat. "I thought it was a great at-bat. That kid had pitched a couple nights in a row and Brantley, we were actually talking about it in the dugout, that's a hard at-bat to come away from [if you get out]. Once Brantley gets that hit, Murph's sitting back there ready. That was really a good at-bat by Brantley."
"We're not getting any hits, that's obvious. You can chalk some of that up to bad breaks, we've hit some balls hard. Just right at guys. Feels like there's 15 defenders in the field right now." -- Longoria, on the Rays' recent hitting funk
"Keep the line moving. We were trying to hit three-run shots with nobody on, it looked like. That's a tough way to go about it on offense, waiting for that big hit, that big inning. Sometimes, you've just got to go out and create it and do the little things, and the big inning will come out of nowhere, as we saw tonight." -- Kipnis, on the Indians' offense
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Tuesday night was the third time an opposing pitcher carried a perfect game through at least five innings against the Rays this homestand following Cody Anderson on Monday and Toronto's Marco Estrada on Wednesday.
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: Cleveland will send right-hander Carlos Carrasco (9-6, 4.16 ERA) to the mound for the third game of this four-game set at Tropicana Field on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Over his past seven starts, the big righty has gone 5-2 with a 3.38 ERA, striking out 46 batters in 45 1/3 innings. He is aiming to become the Tribe's first 10-game winner this year.
Rays:Alex Colome (3-3, 4.50) will make his 13th start of the season on Wednesday in the third of four games against Cleveland after getting a no-decision against the Red Sox on Friday. The Rays have lost each of Colome's last seven starts. Since May 26, the Rays are 0-7 when Colome starts, but 18-7 with all other starting pitchers. He has yielded multiple walks in each of his last seven starts.