Braves tomahawk Tribe out of Atlanta, sweep series
Jimenez pitches well, but Indians offense remains cold in Braves Country
ATLANTA—A roadtrip that had the chance to become a nightmare for the Tribe is starting to turn into a reality.
It was another forgettable night for the Indians offense Thursday, as the Braves edged Cleveland, 3-1 to sweep the three-game Interleague series. Although they outhit Atlanta 22-21 in the series, the Tribe was outscored 8-3 in 27 innings, never getting that big hit offensively.
Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez pitched well in his seven innings of work, but would fall victim of the game’s tough-luck loser allowing three runs on seven hits, striking out 10.
Like the two previous nights, Jimenez joined fellow startersDanny Salazar and Justin Masterson in making just one mistake to the Atlanta offense. With two on and two out in the third, Atlanta catcher Brian McCann took Jimenez deep for his 19th homer of the season to put the Braves up, 3-0.
They never had to peek back.
Braves starter Kris Medlen (11-12, 3.58 ERA) blanked the dismal Tribe offense to six hits in seven shutout innings, striking out six.
Jimenez becomes the first Indians pitcher since Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley to strike out 10 in back-to-back outings and lose both starts.
A free agent at season’s end, the Tribe right-hander has given up three runs or less in 16 of his last 17 starts, owning a 2.89 ERA over that stretch. Thursday also marked only the second time Jimenez did not yield a walk for the second time in his Cleveland career.
Offensively, the lone Indians highlight came on a solo home run by pinch hitter Lonnie Chisenhall to lead off the eighth inning off reliever David Carpenter. It was the third baseman’s second long ball in his last nine games.
Finishing the night 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, the Indians went hitless in the clutch department in the three-game series, going 0-for-18. Braves closer Craig Kimbrel notched his N.L. leading 43rd save with an easy ninth inning.
Over their last eight games, the Tribe offense have hit just .138 (8-for-58) with RISP while leaving 67 runners on base.
Losing three straight, Cleveland (71-62) stays four games in back of the Oakland Athletics for the final wild card spot, and fall back 6 1/2 games behind the first place Detroit Tigers.
The team has now scored two runs or less in 12 of their last 25 ballgames, owning a 1-11 record in those ballgames.
Things don’t get much easier Friday, as the Wahoo’s go from facing the best team in the N.L. to the best team in the A.L. in Motown. Zach McAllister (7-7, 3.51 ERA) will get the call in the series opener against Rick Porcello (10-7, 4.49 ERA). The Tigers right-hander is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in three starts against the Tribe this season.
Cleveland is just 3-11 against their Central Division rivals, having lost 11 of the last 12 meetings.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.