Indians starting pitcher Danny Salazar struck out nine and Andrew Miller returned to Cactus League play in the Indians’ 4-3 win against the Chicago Cubs in front of a record 11,624 fans at Goodyear Ballpark.
Salazar allowed two runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings to go with his nine strikeouts. The lone home runs came on two Willson Contreras home runs.
"He was good,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “When he throws his fastball effectively, then his change-split—whatever you want to call it —his offspeed, is off of that. That's when you're going to see him get his strikeouts. And I think the night game was good for everybody. It looked like they had a little more juice. We've been here a long time. It's been hot. So, it's nice to play a game under the lights and there was some people here. I think it was good for us.”
Miller threw one scoreless inning and struck out one. It was his first Cactus League action since returning from the World Baseball Classic, when he said he still had some work to do to prepare for the season.
"I thought that was his best outing yet,” Francona said. “He's been working hard since he's been back. Direction to the plate. Kind of keeping his head, his eyes, where he's throwing the ball. You could tell there was some intent tonight and he made some real good pitches. I think he felt good about himself after that.”
Abraham Almonte hit his third home run of the spring, this one off of Jon Lester. He’s now hitting .383 this spring with six extra-base hits and 12 RBI in 18 games.
"He's had a good spring—a real good spring,” Francona said. “He came in maybe one of the odd-guys looking out, at least it seems. But, he's done a really good job at all three outfield positions. He's worked so hard on his right-hand hitting. He hit a bullet tonight. We've got to see how things shake out, but he's put himself in a really good spot."