CLEVELAND — Danny Salazar pumped his fist, broke into a big smile and hugged his teammates.
A pitcher’s first career shutout is certainly reason to celebrate.
Salazar (6-6) struck out nine and didn’t walk a batter, and the Cleveland Indians beat the Detroit Tigers 7-0 on Wednesday night.
“I really wanted to finish,” he said. “They asked me after the eighth how I felt and I said I was ready. I felt better in the ninth than I did in the first.”
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Salazar, 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 24-year-old right-hander gave up a one-out single to Steven Moya, but struck out J.D. Martinez for the fourth time.
With the crowd on its feet and Salazar’s adrenaline pumping, Nick Castellanos swung and missed at a 2-2 pitch — the 118th of the night — to end the game.
“I was excited, but I tried to keep my focus,” Salazar said. “I was saying, get an out, a strikeout, a ground out, it didn’t matter.”
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. They are a half-game ahead of the Mariners for the second wild card. Cleveland (71-66) has won seven of 10 and is trying to stay in playoff contention.
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