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Indians split doubleheader with Braves

By JOE NOGA • Apr 21, 2019 at 12:45 AM

CLEVELAND — Francisco Lindor returned to the Cleveland Indians’ lineup Saturday night just in time to see the Tribe’s bullpen head south.

The Atlanta Braves rallied for five runs in the ninth inning and an 8-7 win at Progressive Field in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader. The Indians (12-8) won the first game behind a solid start from Corey Kluber, 8-4.

Atlanta took the lead on a two-run double by Ronald Acuna Jr with two outs in the ninth against reliever Cody Anderson after Cleveland had built a 7-0 lead after two innings.

The Indians led 7-3 after Oliver Perez got out of the eighth inning. But he allowed a leadoff single to Nick Markakis and the meltdown began. Adam Cimber got a strikeout, but then walked two batters before striking out Ender Enciarte and getting within an out of the win.

But Ozzie Albies singled to drive in a pair of runs and trim Cleveland’s four-run lead in half. When Cimber walked Josh Donaldson to reload the bases, Tito Francona went to Tyler Olson against Freddie Freeman — and Olson walked Freeman on a 3-2 wide fastball to make it 7-6.

“He just lost the plate,” Francona said. “He made some pitches that were real close, but missed wide on numerous pitches. You want to make them hit their way back into the game, and we didn't do that tonight.”

Nick Wittgren and Brad Hand had worked in the Indians’ 8-4 victory in the opener and weren’t available, so Francona called on Anderson against Acuna, who laced Anderson’s second pitch to the wall in left.

The Indians were struck out in order by lefty A.J. Minter, who got to face lefties Jake Bauers and Tyler Naquin to start the inning before finishing off Roberto Perez.

The loss snapped Cleveland’s four-game winning streak after the Indians won Saturday’s first contest by an 8-4 count. The Tribe has not swept a doubleheader at home since 2014. The loss drops Cleveland’s record to 12-8 overall and 6-2 at home.

Lindor struck out in his first at-bat, but joined the Indians’ hit parade in the second with a single to right against Braves starter Touki Toussaint (1-1, 8.59). He later scored on Jose Ramirez’s two-run single that beat the shift to gave the Tribe a 4-0 lead.

“I had a blast,” Lindor said. “Unfortunately we lost and it’s not the outcome we want, but it felt good to listen to the crowd and be out there with the team. A tough game, but happy to be part of it.”

Carlos Santana singled home Ramirez and Jake Bauers added a two-run double that pushed Cleveland’s advantage to seven. Every Indians hitter except Perez reached base in the second inning. Perez started the inning with a pop to second base and ended it by grounding into a double play with the bases loaded.

Toussaint struggled through 1 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs on six hits and drilling three Indians. Cleveland hitters took advantage in the first when Leonys Martin scored from third base on a wild pitch and Carlos Gonzalez singled home Ramirez for a 2-0 lead.

Indians starter Trevor Bauer dominated every hitter in the Braves lineup except catcher Tyler Flowers, who entered the game hitting .444 (4-for-9) with a 1.389 OPS in his career against the right-hander. Flowers singled to center in the third and launched an RBI triple off the wall in deep center to drive in Atlanta’s first run in the fifth.

Bauer (2-1, 2.20) held all other Braves hitters in check, striking out a season-high 10 batters in 6 1/3 innings and walking a pair. Bauer has recorded at least seven strikeouts in every start this season and has 20 career double-digit strikeout games. He exited in the seventh with a six-run lead.

Dan Otero relieved Bauer with one out in the seventh and surrendered a two-run homer to Dansby Swanson before striking Flowers out to end the inning.

In the first game, Greg Allen stepped up with Santana on second and two out in the fifth inning and delivered an RBI double that sparked an 8-4 win.

Allen entered Saturday’s first game of a doubleheader against the Braves hitting just .036 (1-for-28) with nine strikeouts, but when he scorched a ball past Freddie Freeman at first base and into the right-field corner, the 27-year-old outfielder pumped his fist in excitement and relief as he ran down the line.

He also nearly doubled his season batting average to .063, but more importantly he ignited a six-run outburst with every run scoring with two out. Manager Terry Francona said he was happy to see Allen break through.

Santana’s run broke a 2-2 tie. Tyler Naquin followed with an RBI single to right and after a Kevin Plawecki walk, Max Moroff delivered his second big hit of the game, an RBI single to center. Moroff’s solo home run with one out in the fourth had tied the game for Cleveland.

Leonys Martin added an RBI single, Moroff scored on a passed ball and Jason Kipnis drove in Martin with a base hit to left as the Tribe posted their most runs in an inning this season.

Kluber was the beneficiary of all those runs. He tied season highs by tossing seven innings and striking out eight Atlanta batters while allowing back-to-back home runs to Brian McCann and Matt Joyce in the seventh.

Kluber (2-2, 5.88) labored through the first inning, throwing 28 pitches. He retired the first two batters he faced on strikes but then issued walks to Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna Jr. When Nick Markakis followed with an RBI single up the middle, the Braves led, 1-0.

The Indians answered in the bottom of the inning thanks to a fortuitous hop and a ball that dropped. Jose Ramirez drew a one-out walk and motored to third on a screaming line drive by Kipnis that kicked off Ozzie Ablies’ glove at second.

Ramirez scored when Santana popped to left and Acuna was unable to track the ball as strong winds blew it back toward the infield. The ball dropped short of Acuna’s glove for Santana’s 13th hit of the season with runners on base and his 12th RBI.

Santana finished 3-for-5, raising his batting average to .407 and his OPS to 1.063.

Former Indian starter Josh Tomlin made his first career appearance against Cleveland in the eighth inning when he came on in relief for Atlanta. Tomlin spent nine seasons with the Indians, who drafted him in the 19th round in 2006. He won 61 and lost 53 for Cleveland in the regular season and posted a 3-1 playoff mark in six appearances (four starts). Tomlin worked a perfect inning, retiring Kipnis, Santana and Bauers.

Up next

The Indians and Braves close out the series as Shane Bieber (2-0, 1.71) faces lefty Max Fried (2-0, 0.92) on Sunday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05, broadcast nationally on ESPN.

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