By Andrew Seligman
AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO — Danny Salazar stayed warm and loose through the snow, rain and biting cold. His teammates helped out with an early lead.
Salazar tossed two-hit ball into the sixth inning, and the Cleveland Indians pounded the White Sox 7-1 Friday, spoiling Chicago’s bone-chilling home opener.
It was 39 degrees at first pitch and snow and rain fell during the day, but the Indians were in their element. Cleveland jumped to a 5-0 lead against John Danks en route to an easy victory after splitting two games at home with Boston in a season-opening series that included two postponements.
Salazar had trouble gripping his fastball and had to go back to the clubhouse at times when he wasn’t on the mound just to stay warm. Those early runs from his offense helped.
“That gave me a little more confidence,” Salazar said. “I put in my mind to keep their score down.”
Jason Kipnis singled and scored during a three-run first and capped a two-run second with a sacrifice fly.
Francisco Lindor added two hits and two runs. Mike Napoli scored twice. Carlos Santana and Yan Gomes each drove in two, and center fielder Rajai Davis raced back to make a diving catch against Adam Eaton.
Salazar (1-0), a 14-game winner last season, gave up a solo homer to Todd Frazier but not much else. He struck out seven and walked three over 5 1/3 innings.
It was a frustrating performance for the White Sox after they started the year by taking three of four at Oakland.
They managed just three hits — two by Frazier. Danks (0-1) allowed seven runs — five earned — and eight hits over five innings.
“I’ve been excited about this start for a couple weeks now,” he said. “I definitely pictured it going a lot different in my head. But it’s baseball. Gotta get ready for the next one.”
Danks ran into trouble in the first when he gave up one-out singles to Kipnis and Lindor before walking Napoli to load the bases. Two runs came in when catcher Alex Avila threw wildly to first after fielding Santana’s chopper, and Gomes followed with a sacrifice fly.
The Indians added to it in the second when Jose Ramirez doubled with one out and Davis tripled to right-center. Kipnis followed with a sacrifice fly to shallow center, making it 5-0 and drawing more boos from a crowd that has seen too much of this.
Danks fell behind hitters, the defense was shaky and Avisail Garcia was picked off first base in the bottom of the second inning, bringing back memories of last year’s 76-win season.
The White Sox did not get a hit until Frazier, their biggest offseason addition, drove an 0-2 pitch beyond the left field bullpen in the fourth for his second homer.
Davis lost the ball when he made a highlight reel catch in the fifth, sprawling out with his back to the infield as he hauled in Eaton’s drive.
“I saw his swing, but I didn’t see any trajection,” Davis said. “I didn’t see the ball do anything. It would seem like it was all cloudy and gray. The ball blended in. Once I saw everyone looking at me, I knew that ball was coming my way. I just looked up and it happened to be in the blue sky. It got over the stadium and I was able to track it down.”
The pregame festivities had a musical flare with Goo Goo Dolls lead singer John Rzeznik singing the National Anthem and Chance the Rapper, a South Side product, throwing out the first pitch.
Indians: Lonnie Chisenhall (left wrist impingement) was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment on Friday with Triple-A Columbus and Michael Brantley (right shoulder surgery) was to begin working out with the minor league club this weekend. Both outfielders are on the 15-day disabled list.
White Sox: SS Jimmy Rollins was back in the lineup after a planned off day.
Indians: RHP Cody Anderson makes his first start after going 7-3 with a 3.05 ERA in 15 outings as a rookie last season.
White Sox: LHP Chris Sale (1-0, 3.86 ERA) looks to build on a season-opening win at Oakland.
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