MLB Team Report - Cleveland Indians - INSIDE PITCH

HOUSTON -- Right-hander Danny Salazar offered the Indians enough glimpses of greatness the past two seasons for Cleveland to anticipate something special Thursday night.

Salazar was solid, not spectacular, against the Houston Astros, allowing one run on five hits and one walk with nine strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings. Given his penchant for inconsistency, a solid performance in a no-decision is worthy of praise. Anticipating when his immense talent will shine regularly is a chore.

"You don't know," Indians manager Terry Francona said before the Indians pulled out a 2-1, 13-inning win over the Astros. "I'm not saying he doesn't get it, I just mean he's young and he hasn't pitched a lot of major league innings (157 1/3). I think what we've seen with Danny is some inconsistencies. He'll go out one night and it's like game on like the game he threw against Detroit (a shutout on Sept. 3). And then he'll bounce back and the next start is OK.

"I think that's part of the learning curve, too, knowing that you've got to be ready every five, sometimes six, days. Regardless of what you have, you've got to go out there, and that's part of it."

Salazar, 24, was electric down the stretch as a rookie in 2013, earning the start in the American League wild-card game against Tampa Bay last Oct. 2. He gave up three runs in four-plus innings, and Cleveland lost 4-0.

He slumped to open this season, earning a temporary demotion. Salazar was great in spots -- as in first career shutout against the Tigers -- and ordinary in others.

The "when" of Salazar putting it together requires patience.

"I don't know if with young pitchers it's even fair to expect them to understand everything before they've gone through it," Francona said. "This guy hasn't gone through a full year yet in the major leagues."


MLB Team Report - Cleveland Indians - NOTES, QUOTES

RECORD: 79-73

STREAK: Won three

NEXT: Indians (RHP Trevor Bauer, 5-8, 4.04 ERA) at Twins (RHP Phil Hughes, 15-10, 3.56 ERA)


--2B Jason Kipnis departed in the eighth inning due to right hamstring tightness, and he is day-to-day. Kipnis served as the designated hitter in the series opener Monday, and he was given the night off Wednesday due to leg soreness. He went 0-for-3 Thursday before giving way to Mike Aviles.

--RHP Danny Salazar allowed one run on five hits and one walk over 7 1/3 innings, striking out nine. In 11 second-half starts, he is 5-3 with a 3.06 ERA and 65 strikeouts against just 15 walks over 64 2/3 innings. He has surrendered three runs or fewer in 12 of his past 13 starts.

--1B Carlos Santana knotted the game with a run-scoring single in the ninth inning off Astros RHP Chad Qualls, producing his club-leading 17th RBI this month. Santana has 21 RBIs in his past 21 games dating to Aug. 29.

--2B Mike Aviles plated the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to right field in the 13th inning. Aviles was a defensive substitution for 2B Jason Kipnis, who departed in the eighth inning due to right hamstring tightness.