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Cleveland Indians split doubleheader on Friday night

The front end of the Cleveland Indians starting rotation posted a pair of encouraging starts in a split-squad doubleheader on Friday evening against the Texas Rangers and Cincinnati Reds.

Summary

Forty-two Cleveland Indians players logged game action as part of a split-squad doubleheader on Friday, 20 of which have zero MLB experience.

The eventful evening culminated in a 3-2 win over the Texas Rangers and 7-3 defeat to the Cincinnati Reds.

Corey Kluber and Danny Salazar registered quality starts while Lonnie Chisenhall, Abraham Almonte and Erik Kratz each hit a home run.

Indians vs. Rangers recap

The right field wall at the Alamodome is only 270 feet from home plate, a distance well short of the major league average of 328 feet.

Chisenhall and Almonte were well aware of the favorable dimensions and belted back-to-back solo home runs in the first inning off A.J. Griffin. Shortly thereafter, Kratz found a pitch to his liking and smashed it to right-center for his second Cactus League bomb to yield an early 3-0 lead.

"It was one of the weaker home runs I've ever hit," Chisenhall said to reporters. "That was my approach today - try to hit the ball to right field somewhere, take advantage of it."

Although Griffin would settle in and retire his last 12 batters, the Tribe pitching staff found their groove with 14 strikeouts in nine frames of two-run ball.

Headlined by Salazar's nine punchouts, the bullpen trio consisting of Boone Logan, Shawn Armstrong and Adam Plutko each notched a scoreless outing in what shaped out to be a low-scoring affair. Salazar allowed consecutive RBI doubles to Nomar Mazara and former teammate Mike Napoli, but fended off any further damage by keeping hitters off-balanced with his fastball-changeup combo.

"I had control of the game," said Salazar in an interview after the contest. "My fastball was there and that changeup was filthy."

The clash of Salazar and Napoli was a bittersweet experience for both players.

"That was really weird, but fun," Salazar said. "Nap, he's a great guy. We miss him a lot here. Baseball is weird sometimes - one day you're here and the next day you don't know where you're going to be."

"It was pretty tough, you started something (and) you wanted to finish it," said Napoli in regards to leaving Cleveland. "This is how baseball goes - you know the business part of it. I couldn't have ended up in a better place."

Indians vs. Reds recap

The battle of Ohio was defined by a five-run seventh inning outburst from Bryan Price's offense. After leading 3-2 after six frames, reliever Josh Martin entered the game and surrendered five runs on five base knocks. Four of the Reds' five hits were extra bases, including an RBI triple off the bat of Desmond Jennings.

Aside from the seventh inning debacle, the Tribe tallied three run-scoring hits courtesy of Yan Gomes (double), Yandy Diaz (single) and Austin Jackson (single) in the first and fourth innings. Terry Francona's lineup batted a meager 1-for-13 after the fourth.

On the mound, Kluber matched Salazar and surrendered two runs on three hits in five innings of work. Jackson, Ronny Rodriguez and Gomes collaborated well on an 8-4-2 putout at the plate to save a run from scoring in the early stages of Kluber's start.

"You get into that competitive mode of going out and trying to get guys out," Kluber said. "The first inning, I was a little too fine, but I kind of corrected it, so I was able to get through that and make the adjustment."

Nick Goody and Travis Banwart rounded out the evening of solid pitching performances by throwing three combined scoreless innings. 

Up next

Another split-squad doubleheader is scheduled for Saturday as the Indians play the Texas Rangers at 3:05 PM ET and Kansas City Royals at 4:05 PM ET.

The pitching probables for each respective contest are Mike Clevinger vs. Dillon Gee and Shawn Morimando vs. Travis Wood.

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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