Salazar began this year with the Columbus Clippers of Triple-A, but he looked instantly at home in the major leagues as he struck out seven hitters while giving up just one run on two hits and allowing just one walk in six innings of work.
It was the most strikeouts for an Indians starting pitcher in debut since Luis Tiant in 1964, who earned 11 against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium, and a very encouraging introduction for the 23-year-old who signed with Cleveland as an international free agent in 2008.
Salazar was backed by a solo home run from Asdrubal Cabrera in the first inning, a two-run single from Lonnie Chisenhall in the sixth and an RBI triple from Carlos Santana in the eighth.
Meanwhile, Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey had looked solid on the mound through his first five innings of work, but it all unraveled in the sixth as he loaded the bases for Chisenhall with three straight walks.
The veteran knuckleballer found himself overshadowed by Salazar, who entered the game as the eighth-best prospect in the Cleveland Indians’ system according to MLB.com, with Dickey’s record now 8-10 on the season having won the National League Cy Young Award in 2012.
With the victory, Cleveland takes their first series victory of July and moves to 48-44, but the performance of Salazar will be the biggest positive for the Indians ahead of the All-Star break.