Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports

Indians edge past Royals 7-6 on Saturday afternoon

In addition to Danny Salazar's four innings of shutout pitching, the Cleveland Indians mustered just enough offense to surpass their AL Central competition on Saturday at Peoria Stadium.

Summary

Through four innings, it appeared the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals were in for a tightly knit pitchers duel.

13 combined runs in the final five frames changed all of that.

The Tribe's seven-run seventh inning was just enough to beat Ned Yost's club 7-6 on Saturday afternoon from Peoria, AZ.

Francisco Mejia and Richie Shaffer led the charge with a grand slam and two-run blast respectively.

Salazar punches out six

By showcasing refined command and a bevy of put-away pitches, Salazar was able to coast his way through four scoreless innings against a team that batted .192 (15-78) against him in the 2016 regular season. The Royals had no more than one baserunner per inning vs. Salazar and failed to drive in Alex Gordon, their only runner in scoring position who reached on a double in the third.

Salazar was sidelined for the majority of September and October due to right forearm tightness before returning to the hill in last year's World Series.

His final line: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R/ER, 1 BB, 6 K (3 groundouts, 2 flyouts). 

Seventh inning slam

Facing a 4-0 deficit, the young triad consisting of Tyler Naquin, Shaffer and Mejia flipped the script and changed the contest in a matter of moments. Abraham Almonte singled before Naquin ripped an RBI double and Shaffer skied a ball over the right field fence to cut Kansas City's advantage to 4-3.

Bobby Parnell walked three batters, forcing Yost to switch pitchers and employ Chris Withrow in a high-leverage situation.

Enter pinch-hitter Francisco Mejia.

Coming off a memorable MiLB campaign highlighted by a 50-game hitting streak in 2016, Mejia found the sweet spot of his bat and launched a grand slam to plate Luke Wakamatsu, Greg Allen and Jordan Smith, all players who walked earlier in the inning.

The Royals battled back with two runs in the ninth off Zach McAllister, but Hunter Dozier and Peter O'Brien both struck out with the tying run on third base to give the veteran righty his third career save in the Cactus League.

Mathias carted off field

A scary situation occurred in the ninth inning when second baseman Mark Mathias dove for a ball in an attempt to corral it and throw out the speedy Billy Burns. The 22-year-old landed awkwardly and injured his arm before departing the game on a cart with medical staff. He was reportedly diagnosed with a dislocated left shoulder after the game.

Mathias was drafted with the 93rd overall pick (3rd round) in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft and is ranked 18th in the Cleveland farm system, according to MLB Pipeline's latest rankings.

Up next

A Sunday matinee is in store for the Indians and San Diego Padres at 4:10 PM ET from Peoria Stadium.

Slated to start will be a pair of former All-Star selections in Corey Kluber and Jered Weaver.

John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.


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