Carlos Santana's RBI single sparked a three-run ninth inning for the Indians, who received another solid start from Corey Kluber and extended their winning streak to 11 games with a 5-3 victory over the Braves on Tuesday night at Turner Field.
Cleveland has won 11 games in a row during a single season for the first time since 1982, while Atlanta has now lost five of its past seven games since its season-high six-game winning streak.
"They're a hot team right now," said Braves starter Matt Wisler, who picked up the no-decision. "That's 11 straight for them, so I knew I'd have to come in and shut the door on them, and Kluber threw really well tonight, so I was just trying to keep [us] in the ballgame as long as possible. I think the team played really well today. It was a tough matchup against Kluber, so to battle like that and everything is kind of good."
The Tribe struck first in the opening frame, as Jason Kipnis scored on an RBI single byJose Ramirez, and Francisco Lindor stole home to give the Indians a 2-0 lead. Wisler settled in after that, surrendering only three more hits over the next five innings. The Braves couldn't solve Kluber, though, who yielded one walk and no hits through the first five innings.
Atlanta finally got its first hit off the right-hander in the sixth, when Erick Aybar reached on an infield single. The hit was the first of three allowed by Kluber in the frame, which was capped by Ender Inciarte's two-run single that tied the game at 2.
Braves closer Arodys Vizcaino walked the first two batters he faced in the ninth, though, which led to the Indians taking the lead for good on Santana's single.
"Ultimately, an 11-game winning streak doesn't really mean much if you don't continue to build on the momentum you have throughout that winning streak," Kluber said. "I just think we're trying to take it game by game and keep it rolling. At some point in time, we're going to lose a game, and then we're just going to have to start back over again the next day and win that one."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Base bandits: With runners on first and third and one out in the first inning, the Indians scratched across their second run of the game on a double steal by Ramirez and Lindor. As Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski fired a throw to second to get Ramirez, Lindor broke for home and scored standing up. The Tribe entered Tuesday's game tied for third in the Majors with 58 stolen bases and added to that total with four.
"First of all, you've got to have baserunners and it's got to be the right situation," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "But when you get the right guys on, the odds are in your favor. I thought [Lindor] did a really good job of reading that throw and forcing them into a mistake. When you get the right guys on and the times are good, we want to let them run."
Braves break through: After five hitless innings, the Braves got to Kluber in the bottom of the sixth. Aybar broke up the no-hit bid with an infield single, the first Brave to reach base since Inciarte walked in the first inning, followed by an Emilio Bonifacio single. Wisler moved the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt, before Inciarte tied the game with a two-run single with two outs.
Kluber excels again: Coming off his complete-game shutout of the Rays last Tuesday, Kluber continued his recent success against the Braves. After the right-hander surrendered a walk to the second batter of the game, he didn't allow a single baserunner until Atlanta's two-run sixth. Kluber (8-7) tossed only 87 pitches through his eight innings of work, and he finished his June 4-1 with a 2.17 ERA. More >
"I thought he was very good," Francona said. "Through five innings, I think he had 49 or 50 pitches. The inning they scored two, he gave up the infield hit, a base hit and then Inciarte had a really nice at-bat, fouling off some pitches and getting a hit. But we never let them take the lead."
Limiting damage: After giving up two runs in the top of the first inning, Wisler kept Atlanta in the game, collecting a career-high nine strikeouts in six innings of work, before the Braves tied it up in the bottom of the sixth. More >
"First-inning struggles [are] killing me again, so I've got to kind of figure that out, but besides that I kind of settled in after the first inning," Wisler said after the game. "I think the team picked me up in the sixth inning getting those two runs, so the team battled for us tonight and it's tough to come away with that loss."
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: Cleveland will send Danny Salazar to the mound looking to complete the three-game sweep of the Braves and increase its winning streak to 12. The right-hander is a perfect 4-0 in four June starts, posting a 2.42 ERA and limiting opposing hitters to a .170 batting average. He surrendered two runs and lasted just four innings in his only career start against the Braves on Aug. 27, 2013. First pitch is slated for 7:10 p.m. ET.
Braves: Atlanta looks to end the Indians' winning streak and avoid a sweep in Wednesday's series finale. Joel De La Cruz, 27, will make his Major League debut against the Indians, with first pitch set for 7:10 ET.