CLEVELAND -- What struck most observers about Danny Salazar's major league debut was his confidence.
"He should be confident," said Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona. "If I could throw like that I would be confident, too."
Salazar gave up one run on two hits in six innings to get the win, as the Indians beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 Thursday in his first MLB appearance.
Salazar, who was called up from Triple-A Columbus to make a spot start, was very impressive in his debut. The 23-year-old right-hander held the Blue Jays hitless and scoreless for the first five innings.
"From his very first pitch he had great poise and he attacked the zone with above-average pitches across the board," said Francona.
Salazar gave up a run in the sixth inning. He was charged with one run on two hits, with seven strikeouts and one walk. The seven strikeouts are the most by an Indians pitcher in his major league debut since Luis Tiant struck out 11 against the Yankees on July 19, 1964.
"I was a little nervous in the bullpen warming up, but once the game started I was fine," said Salazar.
Toronto continues to struggle away from home. The Blue Jays have lost seven of their last 10 road games, and they were unable to use their June winning streak as a springboard to a winning July.
Since winning 11 games in a row from June 11-23 the Blue Jays have lost 11 of their last 17 games, including two of the three games of their series in Cleveland.
"We've got to start winning some games," said Toronto manager John Gibbons.
The Indians gave Salazar a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Asdrubal Cabrera belted a two-out solo home run off R.A. Dickey. In his career against Dickey, Cabrera is 3-for-6 with two home runs and four RBI.
Salazar struck out five of the first eight batters he faced in the game, including striking out the side in the second inning. Toronto's only base runner in the first five innings was a Rajai Davis, who drew a walk leading off the third inning.
The Blue Jays finally reached Salazar for a hit and a run in the sixth inning. Josh Thole led off the inning with a clean single to left field. Thole went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Munenori Kawasaki, and he scored on a two-out double by Jose Bautista, which tied the score at 1-1.
Even if Salazar had gotten through the sixth inning without giving up a hit, he was not going to be given a chance to pitch a no-hitter. Francona said Salazar, who threw 89 pitches, hasn't been stretched out enough to go much beyond that point.
"He obviously wasn't going to go nine, but I might have had to send Mickey (Calloway, Indians pitching coach) out there to get him," joked Francona about how unpopular he would have been had he removed from the game a pitcher working on a no-hitter.
Dickey held the Indians scoreless on two hits from the second through the fifth inning, but in the sixth Cleveland scored two runs on just one hit. Michael Brantley got hit by Dickey's first pitch of the inning, and Ryan Raburn followed with a walk.
After Carlos Santana struck out, Mark Reynolds walked, loading the bases. Lonnie Chisenhall drove in a run with a bloop single to left, and when left fielder Davis threw wildly to the plate Raburn scored on the error, giving the Indians a 3-1 lead.
Salazar was told before the game that this was a spot start and that he was going to be returned to Columbus following the game.
"That's their decision. I know they'll call me back in the future," he said.
"That kid has special stuff. He has a very bright future," said Francona.
Dickey pitched six innings and gave up three runs, two earned, on six hits, with seven strikeouts. The loss drops his record to 8-10.
Cleveland added a run in the eighth inning on an RBI triple by Santana, and the Blue Jays scored a run in the ninth on an RBI single by Colby Rasmus off Chris Perez, who picked up his 11th save.
Notes: Salazar is the ninth different pitcher to start a game for the Indians this season. ... Indians infielder Mark Reynolds was 0-for-3 as his struggles at the plate continue. Reynolds is hitting .069 (2 of 26) in the month of July. ... Toronto third baseman Brett Lawrie is hitting .286 (8 of 28) in the first nine games of his minor league rehab assignment with Class AAA Buffalo. ... First baseman Adam Lind has 128 homers as a Blue Jay, three shy of Ernie Whitt for eighth place on the team's all-time list.