The Cleveland Indians try to put a little more distance between themselves and the Kansas City Royals in the American League Central on Friday when the division foes begin a three-game series at Progressive Field.
Cleveland managed to win a series on Thursday, as Danny Salazar tossed six superb innings in his major league debut to lead the Indians over the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-2.
Asdrubal Cabrera homered and Lonnie Chisenhall added two hits and an RBI for the Indians, who won for just the third time in nine games.
Salazar (1-0) allowed just one run on two hits, striking out seven and walking one for Cleveland, which is just 3 1/2 games in front of the Royals in the division
"Once I stepped on the mound I wasn't nervous," said Salazar, who will be sent back to the minors after the game. "I was only thinking about throwing the ball. I know I have good guys behind me."
Getting the call for the Tribe on Friday will be righty Corey Kluber, who is winless in his last three starts and 6-5 on the year with a 4.23 ERA. Kluber did not get a decision Sunday against Detroit, but pitched well in the 9-6 win, allowing two runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings. He also struck out 10.
"He stayed ahead in the count," Indians manager Terry Francona said after Saturday's game. "He was aggressive. He was really good. When you start throwing in with your best velocity, that's very impressive."
Kluber is 1-0 in three starts versus the Royals with a 6.48 ERA.
Kansas City, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Bruce Chen, who will make his first start of the season. Last year's Opening Day starter for the Royals, Chen has gone 3-0 with a 2.41 ERA in 19 appearances out of the bullpen this season.
Chen, who is replacing the struggling Luis Mendoza in the rotation, is no stranger to the Indians and is 6-3 lifetime against them with a 4.73 ERA in 17 games (10 starts).
Kansas City enters this matchup following a four-game split with the New York Yankees. The Royals had won the first two games of that series, but were outscored, 16-5, in the final two, including an 8-4 setback on Thursday.
Salvador Perez had two RBI for the Royals, who left nine men on base and gave up seven unanswered runs in the loss.
Kansas City starter Ervin Santana (5-6) gave up eight runs on 10 hits over five-plus frames.
The Royals have split 10 matchups with the Tribe this season.