CLEVELAND: Part of the key to hitting a knuckleball on the screws is to avoid violent swings.
Don’t tell that to Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who homered off knuckleball specialist R.A. Dickey in the Indians’ 4-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday afternoon.
“It’s not easy to hit that pitch,” Cabrera said. “I hear people say not to swing hard, but if I get the pitch I’m looking for, I swing hard, so I can get on top of the ball.”
Until two days ago, Cabrera was 0-for-20 in his previous six games. In the past two, he is 3-for-8.
LITTLE BALL — Aside from Cabrera’s home run, the Tribe offense was composed of bloops, infield singles, walks and two hit batters.
In the only multirun inning, Michael Brantley was hit by a pitch, Ryan Raburn walked, Mark Reynolds walked with one out to load the bases. Lonnie Chisenhall followed by dumping a flair to left to score one run, and left fielder Rajai Davis fired a throw over the head of catcher Josh Thole, allowing a second unearned run to score.
In the eighth, the Indians scored their final run when Raburn walked, and right fielder Jose Bautista lost his footing and fell down, allowing Carlos Santana’s fly ball to roll almost to the fence for a triple, scoring pinch runner Drew Stubbs.
OTHER STUFF — Danny Salazar is the first Tribe pitcher making his major-league debut to strike out at least seven since Luis Tiant struck out 11 against the New York Yankees on July 19, 1964. ... The Tribe beat Dickey for the second time this season and is 8-4 against former Cy Young Award winners in 2013. ... The Indians and Jays are tied 192-192 all-time.
FARM FACTS — Joe Wendle hit his 12th home run of the season and drove in two runs in Carolina’s 15-8 win over Lynchburg in Class A. Alex Lavisky doubled twice, singled and drove in four runs, and Bryson Myles had three RBI on his 10th homer of the year and a double. ... Ryan Merritt gave up one earned run (two total) and six hits in 5⅓ innings, as Lake County lost 3-2 to Beloit in Class A.
— Sheldon Ocker