CHICAGO — Strong pitching and some early power at the plate gave the Cleveland Indians their first three-game winning streak of the season.
Danny Salazar tossed six scoreless innings and was backed by first-inning home runs from Nick Swisher and Mike Aviles, leading Cleveland past the Chicago White Sox 5-2 on Thursday night.
Salazar was coming off his worst start of the season in which he allowed five earned runs in 4 2/3 innings against Texas on May 16. He recovered to help the Indians take three of four from Chicago. They also completed a 5-2 road trip and won consecutive series for the first time.
"Guys are kind of understanding what their roles are and we're just going out there and rocking it," Swisher said.
Salazar (5-1) walked three, but struck out eight while giving up five hits to hand Chicago its first series loss at home.
"That's a good way not only to win, but to pitch," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.
Aviles had four hits. Carlos Santana, back in the lineup after missing four games due to back spasms, was 0 for 4 with an RBI.
John Danks (2-4) allowed five runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings for the White Sox, who lost their third straight following a six-game winning streak. Danks was unable to continue a stretch of strong starting pitching for Chicago, which had gotten nine quality starts in its last 13 games with an ERA of 3.01 over that span.
"The first two innings, they got to him, the homers," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. "We didn't hit, either. The combination isn't a good recipe at all."
Chicago's Jose Abreu went 1 for 4 and extended his hitting streak to 16 games. Tyler Flowers hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth off Bryan Shaw to avoid the shutout.
Thanks to Cleveland's four-run first, Salazar pitched with a lead all night. Following a run-scoring single by Michael Brantley and Ryan Raburn's double-play grounder that allowed Santana to score, Swisher and Aviles hit back-to-back home runs against Danks. For Swisher, it was his first of the season and Aviles' was his third.
"Made some bad pitches that got hit," Danks said.
During the four games against Cleveland, the White Sox scored only eight times. That followed a three-game series in Oakland in which they scored 18 runs.
"You've got to start somewhere, and we have a long way to go but we're playing better baseball," Francona said. "Hopefully, that will continue for the rest of the season."
WHAT A PLAY
Cleveland benefited from strong defense in the fifth. With one out, Michael Bourn tracked down a deep line drive by Abreu and threw to cutoff man Jason Kipnis, whose throw beat Melky Cabrera back to first for a double play that ended the inning.
White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper will miss Friday and Saturday's games to attend a family graduation. Bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen will take his place.
Indians: C Yan Gomes (right knee) is expected to catch Sunday for Cleveland. He was the designated hitter for Triple-A Columbus on Thursday night. ... LHP T.J. House (left shoulder) was activated from the 15-day disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Columbus.
White Sox: Abreu stayed in the game after he was tended to by Ventura and a trainer after fouling a pitch off during the third inning. Ventura said Abreu pinched his finger on his bat but was OK.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco (4-4, 4.98) makes his ninth start of the season, going against Reds RHP Mike Leake (2-2, 3.62 ERA) on Friday in the opener of a three-game interleague series in Cleveland.
White Sox: Minnesota RHP Phil Hughes (3-4, 4.76) faces Chicago RHP Jeff Samardzija (3-2, 4.58). Samardzija has been strong at home, going 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in three starts.