Cleveland Indians top Atlanta Braves for 11th straight win

By Stan Awtrey, The Sports Xchange
Cleveland Indians' Carlos Santana. UPI/Brian Kersey
Cleveland Indians' Carlos Santana. UPI/Brian Kersey | License Photo

ATLANTA -- Carlos Santana weighs 210 pounds and plays first base, not typical traits for a leadoff hitter. But he's shown the ability to produce in the clutch, regardless of where he bats, and did it again on Tuesday.

Santana's run-scoring single -- his 42nd RBI -- in the ninth inning drove in the deciding run and the Cleveland Indians won their 11th straight game, beating the Atlanta Braves 5-3 at Turner Field.


"Regardless of where they bat, they're good hitters," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "They came back in the sixth and then we came back."

The victory gave Cleveland its first 11-game winning streak since 1982. The franchise record is 13, last accomplished in 1951.

With the game tied 2-2, Atlanta closer Arodys Vizcaino walked Tyler Naquin and Juan Uribe to start the ninth inning. Santana, who was 2-for-4 with a walk, delivered a single to right field to drive in Naquin.


The Indians added two insurance runs. Pinch runner Rajai Davis scored on shortstop Erick Aybar's fielding error and Santana scored on a single by Jose Ramirez.

"We did a good job continuing to put pressure on them," Francona said.

The comeback allowed Corey Kluber (8-7) to earn the win and finish June with a 4-1 record. The right-hander pitched eight innings and allowed two runs on three hits and walk. Kluber didn't allow a hit until Aybar led off the sixth inning with an infield single. He struck out seven, his fourth straight game with at least seven strikeouts.

"He was very good," Francona said. "He had 49-50 pitches in the first five innings. And we never let them take the lead."

Cody Allen pitched the ninth and earned an uneasy 15th save. Allen gave up a solo home run to Jace Peterson, his second, and a two-out triple to Freddie Freeman. Nick Markakis, who represented the tying run, flied out to left.

The losing pitcher was Vizcaino (1-3), who allowed his first run since June 13.

"It does happen to the best closers," Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. "That's why those guys have to have short memories."


Atlanta starter Matt Wisler pitched six innings and allowed two runs on six hits and two walks. He struck out a career-high nine batters.

"He was really good," Snitker said. "The more he's out there, the better he got. That's a positive thing. You're talking about a young starter and every pitch he throws in these games is a learning thing for him. He did a fine job keeping that game right there."

Wisler also helped himself at the plate. In the sixth inning, he sacrificed runners on first and second into scoring position, even though he was finished on the mound. Ender Inciarte drove in both runners with a two-out single to tie the game 2-2.

Hunter Cervenka and Jim Johnson each pitched a shutout inning before handing the game over to Vizcaino, who had saved 10 of his previous 12 save opportunities.

The Indians got two runs in the first inning off Wisler. Jason Kipnis singled, went to third on Francisco Lindor's single and scored on a hit by Jose Ramirez. Lindor scored on the front end of a double-steal, the first time a Cleveland player has stolen home since David Dellucci in 2008.


The Indians stole four bases, two of them by Ramirez.

"It's got to be the right situation," Francona said. "You have to have the right guys and the odds have to be in your favor. Frankie (Lindor) did a good job forcing them into making a throw."

NOTES: The Braves placed RHP John Gant on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain suffered during Monday's start and recalled RHP Casey Kelly from Triple-A Gwinnett. It is the fourth time that Kelly has been with the Braves this season. ... Atlanta's top prospect, SS Dansby Swanson, was selected to play for the U.S. team in the All-Star Futures game on July 10. Cleveland had two players chosen -- OF Clint Frazier will play for the U.S. team and C Francisco Mejia will play for the World team. ... Atlanta INF Gordon Beckham, out since June 2 with a left hamstring strain, has begun a minor league rehab and return next week. ... Umpire Jerry Layne was replaced by Bill Welke for Tuesday's game. Layne left Monday's game early when he was struck in the mask by a foul ball.


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