Minneapolis, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Danny Salazar was electric in his first start of the season, and batterymate Roberto Perez went 3-for-4 with a home run to help the Cleveland Indians to a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Twins.
Salazar (1-0) matched a career high with 10 strikeouts while yielding just two runs over six-plus innings as Cleveland bounced back from Friday's 3-2, 11- inning loss to the Twins in the opener of this three-game series.
"I said (Friday) I have things to prove," said Salazar, who began the season in Triple A following a lackluster spring training. "I've been working. I know this is my first game that I've thrown in the big leagues this year, but you can see the results. They are better than in spring training."
Jose Ramirez added two hits and a run scored in the victory, with Jason Kipnis contributing an RBI single for the Indians.
Salazar halted Minnesota's three-game win streak by outdueling Phil Hughes (0-3), touched for four runs and eight hits over 6 2/3 innings to drop his third consecutive start to begin the season.
Kurt Suzuki had a solo homer for Minnesota, while Joe Mauer and Eduardo Nunez each collected two hits in defeat.
Salazar began his impressive stint by racking up eight strikeouts through the first three innings of play, and the hard-throwing young righty was rewarded when the Indians put up a run in the fourth to snap a 1-1 tie.
Brandon Moss led off with a drive off the top of the wall in right center for a double and was pushed to third on a groundout before scoring the go-ahead run on Lonnie Chisenhall's sac fly to left.
The Twins put up a two-out threat in the sixth, as Mauer doubled and Brian Dozier drew a walk to place two on. Salazar regrouped, though, jamming Kennys Vargas into a soft line drive to preserve a 2-1 lead that the Tribe extended in the seventh.
"He came out and established easy velocity on his fastball and held it through his outing," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Salazar. "He made a couple of mistakes, but came right back and corrected it."
Perez and Ramirez each singled in front of Kipnis' base hit to right that brought in a run and chased Hughes in favor of Caleb Thielbar, who uncorked a wild pitch that enabled Ramirez to cross the plate for a 4-1 advantage.
"I didn't have great stuff so I made an adjustment," said Hughes of his outing. "I tried to use more changeups and sinkers today because they were aggressive early. That worked for a while until I got in trouble in the seventh."
Suzuki reached the seats to end Salazar's afternoon during Minnesota's half of the inning, but the Twins didn't record another hit off relievers Nick Hagadone and Cody Allen the rest of the way. Allen struck out the side in the ninth to notch his third save of the season.
Perez opened the scoring with a blast into the second deck in left-center off Hughes in the third inning. The Twins quickly countered when Torii Hunter's two-out double in the bottom of the frame knocked in Nunez, who led off with a double to left.
Cleveland pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts, with both Vargas and Danny Santana going 0-for-4 with three K's ... The Indians prevailed in all three of Salazar's starts against Minnesota last season ... Hughes has lost his first three starts in a season for the first time in his career ... Kipnis' RBI single in the eighth snapped an 0-for-16 skid ... Cleveland has scored first in all four of its victories on the young season.