BOSTON (AP) – Danny Salazar had a simple explanation for why he’s on a strong run.
He’s stopped trying to overpower hitters. Now, he knows how to pitch.
Salazar pitched seven strong innings to cool off Boston’s hot bats, and Lonnie Chisenhall had a solo homer and three RBIs to carry the Cleveland Indians past the Red Sox 8-2 on Monday night.
“Right now, I feel like I’m growing up instead of trying to go out there and strike everybody out,” the 25-year-old Salazar said. “The strikeouts are going down and the innings are going up. That’s what we’re trying to do – attack the game.”
Salazar (11-6) allowed one run on four hits, striking out five and walking one. He’s given up two-or-fewer runs in six of his last seven starts.
“I think his consistency is the thing that sticks out,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He’s always had more than glimpses – the stuff he has – he’s always understood the league.”
Carlos Santana also hit a solo shot, and Chisenhall’s two-run double highlighted a five-run fourth that lifted Cleveland to its sixth win in nine games
Travis Shaw drove in both runs with a solo homer and an RBI single for the Red Sox, who scored 45 runs on 60 hits in their previous three games against Seattle.
The Indians took the lead with their five-run inning against Matt Barnes (3-3).
“I thought Matt threw the ball really, really well,” Boston interim manager Torey Lovullo said. “He gave us everything we expected. He was commanding his fastball, everything was crisp and downhill. He was effective and he did his job for us tonight.
“Unfortunately, there was a little hiccup there with a five-run inning and we just couldn’t seem to rebound from that.”
Abraham Almonte’s safety squeeze made it 1-1 in the fifth, and he reached on the bunt for a hit.
“That was a nice bunt on his part. I wish I could say I called it,” Francona said. “That was a nice piece of baseball by him.”
Chisenhall then doubled over the head of left fielder Hanley Ramirez, who had a late break on the ball that hit low on the Green Monster. Jerry Sands and Mike Aviles followed with consecutive run-scoring singles.
Santana homered in the fifth and Chisenhall hit his an inning later.
Barnes gave up six runs on six hits in five innings. He was called up Monday from Triple-A Pawtucket and made his first major league start. The 25-year-old right-hander held the Indians hitless for the first 3 1-3 innings.
“I felt really good out there,” he said. “I thought I had really good command of all three pitches.”
INDIANS: OF Michael Brantley was back in the lineup, at DH, after missing three straight games with a sore left shoulder. … Francona said INF Jason Kipnis, working through right shoulder inflammation, could be activated from the DL Tuesday. … INF Chris Johnson has a spider bite on his hand that the team is monitoring.
RED SOX: Ramirez was back in the lineup after missing six consecutive games with a bruised left foot. … 3B Pablo Sandoval also returned. He was out Sunday with a bruised right elbow after getting hit with a pitch Saturday.
Ramirez’s bat came out of his hands and flew about 20 rows behind the Indians’ on-deck circle. No one was injured and Ramirez instructed security to give another bat to the fan that caught it.
INDIANS: RHP Trevor Bauer (9-9) is set to start Tuesday. He lasted just 3 1-3 innings against the Yankees in his last start.
RED SOX: Rookie LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (6-5) hopes to bounce back from a rough outing. He gave up eight runs in five innings in a loss at Miami last Wednesday.