Danny Salazar pitched his first career shutout, scattering eight hits, and the Cleveland Indians beat the Detroit Tigers, 7-0, on Wednesday night.
Salazar (6-6), who has pitched 17 consecutive scoreless innings, was given a loud ovation by the sparse crowd of 11,739 when he took the mound for the ninth. The fans were on their feet throughout the inning and roared when Nick Castellanos struck out to end the game.
Salazar pumped his fist after Castellanos swung and missed at his 118th pitch.
Carlos Santana hit a two-run homer in the first off Justin Verlander (12-12), who allowed seventh runs in 62/3 innings.
Cleveland scored twice in the fourth on Lonnie Chisenhall’s RBI double and Yan Gomes’ run-scoring single. Michael Bourn’s RBI single and rookie Jose Ramirez’s run-scoring double finished Verlander in the seventh.
The Tigers (76-63), who entered play a half-game behind Kansas City in the AL Central, won the first two games of the crucial series against their division rivals. Cleveland (71-66) has won seven of 10 and is trying to stay in playoff contention.
Verlander pitched for the first time since nude photos of him and model girlfriend Kate Upton were allegedly hacked from an online account and posted on the Internet. The right-hander told reporters Tuesday that he wouldn’t comment on his personal life and his focus was on helping the Tigers make the playoffs.
Verlander, who struck out seven and allowed nine hits, has been dealing with a sore shoulder and his 4.80 ERA is the second-worst ERA of his career.
The 24-year-old Salazar, who rose to the big leagues quickly last season, hasn’t allowed a run since the third inning on Aug. 23 against Houston. The right-hander pitched five scoreless innings against Kansas City last week, a start that was cut short by a rain delay.
Santana homered to right on a 2-1 pitch, his 24th of the season. His two-run homer in the first inning Tuesday provided the Indians with their only runs.
Leading 2-0, Cleveland added two runs in the fourth. After Jason Kipnis drew a one-out walk, Chisenhall’s hit rolled into the right field corner. Kipnis was waved home and slid in safely as the throw from second baseman Ian Kinsler skipped past catcher Bryan Holaday.
Kinsler was charged with an error, allowing Chisenhall to take third. Gomes’ bloop hit fell between Kinsler and first baseman Victor Martinez in shallow right.
Michael Brantley added an RBI single in the seventh.
Tigers: C Alex Avila was held out of the lineup after being hit in the mask by a foul ball Tuesday. “I just thought it was probably smarter to not throw him back there and have him take another shot within 24 hours of the previous one,” manager Brad Ausmus said.
Indians: Utilityman Mike Aviles (whiplash symptoms) was out of the lineup for the second straight day. He was injured trying to make a diving catch in right field Monday.
Tigers: RHP Max Scherzer (15-5) starts the finale of the four-game set for Detroit as the Tigers go for the series win.
Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer (5-7), who has pitched 112/3 consecutive scoreless innings, will start for Cleveland. The Indians have won each of his last four starts.