Ramirez, Indians throttle White Sox

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[July 29, 2017]  CHICAGO -- Danny Salazar spent six weeks on the disabled list at the time of the season when the Cleveland Indians may have considered making a move to bring in another top-line starting pitcher.

But now that he is healthy, Salazar may be providing the Indians with exactly what they need to make another run at a second straight American League title.

Salazar struck out eight and allowed only three hits and Jose Ramirez had four hits with a homer and three RBIs as the Indians won their eighth straight game with a 9-3 win over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.

Salazar (4-5) didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning before he departed in the seventh after allowing a two-run homer to Matt Davidson. By then, the Indians had plenty of breathing room en route to handing the White Sox their fourth straight loss and 16th in their last 18 games.

"It feels amazing right now," said Salazar, who was sidelined between June 6 and July 22 and who made his second straight solid start since returning.

"I'm focusing on my job right now and trying to do the same thing every single day and to stay healthy and stay strong so I can do my job out there."

Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley also homered for Cleveland, which also got a pair of RBI singles from Yan Gomes.

The Indians broke the game open in the fifth inning with four runs to build a 6-0 lead. Ramirez drove in a pair with a two-run single after Santana and Francisco Lindor produced back-to-back singles. After the White Sox elected to intentionally walk Edwin Encarnacion, Ramirez promptly singled to drive in his second and third runs of the night.

"I just tried to get a good pitch, put a good swing on it and thank God I had good results," Ramirez said.

White Sox starter Derek Holland said he hoped to get a ground ball and potentially an inning-ending double play out of Ramirez after walking Encarnacion. Instead, it turned into a momentum-shifting inning.

"I thought that pitching-wise I had the right stuff, it just comes down to execution," Holland said. "I missed a couple spots. That's the frustrating thing."

Said Indians manager Terry Francona: "If they're going to walk people, you want to make them pay for it. To me, (Ramirez) is the ultimate protector."

Holland (5-10) struggled with his command in his 4 1/3 innings. In addition to allowing nine hits and surrendering six runs, he walked six and failed to record a strikeout.

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Indians first baseman Carlos Santana (41) hits a solo home run during the sixth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

After Ramirez came through, Holland walked Brandon Guyer with the bases loaded to extend the lead to 5-0 before Gomes followed with an RBI single off of reliever Chris Beck.

Salazar didn't allow a hit until Omar Narvaez lined a one-out single before Alen Hanson followed with Chicago's second hit in the fifth. But Salazar rebounded and struck out Tim Anderson and Adam Engel to keep the White Sox scoreless.

Rookie Yoan Moncada had an RBI double for Chicago, which loaded the bases in the eighth inning before Indians reliever Nick Goody pitched out of the jam. The White Sox also loaded the bases in the ninth, but again failed to score as their losing streak continued.

"We had a couple opportunities to continue to put ourselves back in the swing of things with a timely hit here or there," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "We kept battling, we just fell short."

NOTES: Indians 2B Jason Kipnis (strained right hamstring) will DH for Triple-A Columbus on Saturday and then is expected to play second base on Sunday, manager Terry Francona said Friday. Francona said Kipnis has progressed faster than expected after being placed on the disabled list July 9. ... RF Lonnie Chisenhall (right calf) is expected to resume running the bases "any day," Francona said. ... LHP Boone Logan received a second opinion after he sustained what is thought to be a left lat strain/tear on July 21. Francona said Logan -- who has posted a 4.71 ERA over 21 appearances -- is considering several options, one of which is surgery, which could be season-ending. ... White Sox 2B Yoan Moncada, widely considered to be the top prospect in baseball, hit in the cleanup spot for the first time. Manager Rick Renteria said he is experimenting where Moncada fits best in the lineup.

[ 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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