Created on Saturday, 03 May 2014 Written by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Indians were willing to try almost anything to end their losing streak.
Cleveland pitchers Corey Kluber and Cody Allen dressed up like chickens during batting practice Friday while standing in the outfield in an attempt to help the team pull out of its six-game losing streak.
The strategy apparently worked.
Michael Brantley homered and drove in three runs, Carlos Santana also homered and the Indians finally broke loose for a 12-5 win over the Chicago White Sox.
Manager Terry Francona wasn't sure who came up with the idea.
"I don't really care," he said. "If we're going to win again, they can all show up and wear chicken outfits."
"I thought it was awesome," first baseman Nick Swisher said. "We've had a lot of stress in here. A nice little laugh here and there definitely loosens the hinges a little bit."
The scene brought back memories of last season when Allen's teammates presented him with a live chicken from a local farm during batting practice.
Cleveland's struggling offense, which scored 13 runs on a 0-6 road trip, had a five-run first inning and added four in the sixth.
"It was a good night offensively for us and we needed it," Francona said.
Brantley hit a leadoff homer in the fifth and added a two-run single in the sixth. Santana hit a solo homer in the second and had an RBI single in the first, while Ryan Raburn and Yan Gomes each drove in two runs.
Although Santana is still batting only .165, he's raised his average 43 points and homered three times in his past four games.
"He's such a good hitter and when he gets hot, it's not just singles," Francona said.
Danny Salazar (1-3) was charged with five runs, three earned, in five innings and earned his first win of the season.
Jose Abreu hit his major-league leading 11th homer in the fifth, but the White Sox couldn't overcome a shaky start by John Danks (2-2), who allowed eight runs in five innings.
"There wasn't a whole lot to take from it," Danks said. "I felt fine, but I'm giving them batter's counts way too often and I'm paying for it."
The Indians placed All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis on the 15-day disabled list prior to the game with a pulled muscle in his side.
Santana's RBI single, Raburn's two-run double and Gomes' two-run single highlighted Cleveland's first inning. The fast start was enough to hold off the hard-hitting White Sox, who lead the AL in runs scored but have lost three in a row.
Abreu struck out against Salazar in his first two at-bats, but homered to left on a 3-2 pitch in the fifth. The rookie sensation also leads the league with 33 RBIs.
Salazar worked out of a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the fourth.
"I was competing every pitch," Salazar said. "It felt good to not let them score."
The right-hander struck out six and won for the first time since Sept. 25 of last season, also against Chicago.
Kipnis' absence hurt the Indians immediately as his replacement, Elliot Johnson, committed two errors. Both of the miscues came on dropped throws on potential force plays. The first came in Chicago's three-run second inning. The second helped the White Sox load the bases in the fourth.
The White Sox scored three times in the second on singles by Alejandro De Aza and Adrian Nieto and a passed ball by Gomes.
Alexei Ramirez, the AL's leading hitter, was 2 for 4 and is batting .356. Dayan Viciedo, the third-leading hitter in the league, was hitless in three at-bats and is batting .337.
NOTES: Kipnis is expected to miss three to five weeks. ... White Sox OF Adam Eaton left with a strained right hamstring in the fourth after hitting into a double play. He said after the game he might have to go on the DL. ... White Sox LHP Chris Sale (left flexor strain) played catch before the game, but will not be activated off the 15-day disabled list when he becomes eligible Saturday. The two-time All-Star will play long toss Monday in Chicago. ... Indians RHP Justin Masterson (0-1) looks for his first win in his seventh start against RHP Scott Carroll (1-0) Saturday.