(The Sports Xchange) - Detroit right-hander Alfredo Simon flirted with a no-hitter for the second time in four starts on Saturday before the Tigers completed a 6-0 rout of the Cleveland Indians.
Simon (12-9) pitched seven innings, giving up a two-out double in the sixth to Cleveland left fielder Michael Brantley and only one more hit, before Alex Wilson and Bruce Rondon finished up the game.
Brantley’s double came on Simon’s 92nd pitch and the hit saved Tigers manager Brad Ausmus from having to decide whether to take Simon out with a no-hitter on the line or leave him in and risk having a high number of pitches increase his chances of injury.
“I wouldn’t worry at 110-112 (pitches) if we had a six-run lead,” Ausmus said. “I’d be more worried if when we get to eighth or ninth inning we were at 130 pitches. That’s when I’d start to worry.”
Simon, who walked four and struck out five, knew he would not be pitching a complete game.
“I know I had a lot of pitches,” said Simon. “So I don’t think I was going to throw the nine innings.”
Simon pitched his first complete game, a one-hit shutout, on Aug. 20 against Texas, the lone hit being a two-out double in the fifth by second baseman Rougned Odor. He threw 116 pitches in that outing and 112 in his seven innings on Saturday.
Simon began the game establishing his fastball, then quickly making his go-to pitch a curve that had great bite.
“Once he got a feel for his breaking ball, he was really tough. He’s been pitching very well against us,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
“With that kind of stuff, if comes together on a certain night, it doesn’t matter what he’s done recently.”
Right-hander Danny Salazar (12-8) lasted just 3-2/3 innings. He gave up six runs, eight hits with one walk and one strikeout.
“He made a lot of mistakes early on,” Francona said.
”He got that double play (in the first), but they got a run on those three two-out hits in the second. He made a lot of very hittable mistakes after that.
“He didn’t have the good off-speed command that he normally has. His mistakes left the ballpark.”
Compiled by Greg Stutchbury