Monday, June 27, 2016

Bauer, Chisenhall spark Tribe to 10th straight

 Behind a three-run home run by Lonnie Chisenhall and another solid outing from Trevor Bauer, the Indians extended their MLB-best winning streak to 10 games with Monday's 8-3 win over the Braves at Turner Field, their longest in a single season since ending the 2013 campaign with a 10-game win streak.
Cleveland jumped out to an early lead in the first, when Francisco Lindor scored on an RBI single by Mike Napoli. Atlanta quickly responded with a run of its own in the bottom of the third -- driven in by a sacrifice fly from Nick Markakis -- but Chisenhall's three-run blast in the fourth gave the Indians the lead for good.
After allowing a solo home run to Tyler Flowers in the fourth, Bauer surrendered only two more hits to the next 10 batters he faced before turning the game over to the bullpen after six strong innings. The Indians have won five of Bauer's past six starts.
"He's got that big breaking ball," Braves manager Brian Snitker said of Bauer. "And it's kind of like, I really think with his fastball, you really don't set location or anything like that, because he throws it both sides of the plate and he just, he's not real easy to hit at."
Cleveland has now scored at least six runs in seven straight games, and its starters are 7-0 with a 2.05 ERA during the winning streak.
"We turn the page so fast," Indians manager Terry Francona said of his team's streak. "It doesn't matter what happened 10 days ago. It has nothing to do with tomorrow. What was important was tonight, and we played good enough to win. So now we'll turn the page and come back and see if we can do it again tomorrow."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Lonnie Baseball: Chisenhall's home run marked his fourth of the season, all of which have come since May 31. Before then, the Cleveland right fielder was hitting .271 with seven extra-base hits and six RBIs. But over his past 23 games, Chisenhall is batting .321 with 10 extra-base hits and 15 RBIs, making him a valuable asset for the Indians with outfielderMichael Brantley still on the disabled list.
"You know, it's contagious," Chisenhall said. "I believe that. I don't know how many hits we had, but I looked up and we had 12 or 13 at one point. It's fun going into the batter's box after the guy in front of you and the guy behind you has been [hitting well]."
Gant exits: Braves right-hander John Gant left the game in the third inning with a left oblique strain. He allowed one run on three hits with two strikeouts in two-plus innings. With a 2-2 count on Bauer, a trainer and Snitker made a visit to the mound. After throwing a warmup pitch, Gant was removed from the game and replaced by Tyrell Jenkins, who went four innings in relief and picked up the loss.
Cabrera makes big league debut: With Atlanta's bullpen taking over early after Gant's exit, the Braves got their first look at flamethrower Mauricio Cabrera, who was called up from Double-A Mississippi on Monday. The 22-year-old made his Major League debut, allowing one hit over an inning of work in the seventh. Cabrera threw seven pitches, six of which were fastballs, all of which were at least 100 mph. The right-hander's first pitch in the bigs came in at 101 mph to pinch-hitter Carlos Santana, and later in the inning, he delivered one at 102 mph to Jason Kipnis. The only pitch that wasn't triple-digits was a 68-mph changeup to Lindor.
Changing gears: Bauer entered Monday's game having walked just nine batters in his past five starts. The right-hander struggled with his command early against the Braves, though, walking three of the first eight batters he faced. But instead of letting the bases on balls plague him as they have throughout his young career, Bauer settled in and allowed none of those runners to score en route to his sixth win of the season.
"He's done that before," Francona said. "I think he's getting better at that, though, and about not walking people. I think he used to not care, and we tried to convince him that's a hard way to pitch. But he's done a much better job. He's got the weapons to pitch around rallies, and he doesn't ever back down. So he has the ability to get out of stuff like that."
WHAT'S NEXT
Indians: Corey Kluber will toe the rubber start against the Braves on Tuesday with an extra day of rest under his belt after throwing 115 pitches in a three-hit shutout of the Rays last Tuesday. The outing marked the right-hander's second complete game in his past four starts. During that span, he's 3-1 with a 2.17 ERA. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. ET.
Braves: Matt Wisler takes the mound for Atlanta in the second game of the Braves' three-game set with Cleveland. The 23-year-old right-hander has registered quality starts in his last two outings.

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