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Braves walk-off with 3-2 win, Indians offensive woes continue

Indians bats go cold again as team falls to Braves for second straight night

Braves walk-off with 3-2 win, Indians offensive woes continue
August 29, 2013
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ATLANTA—The stymied Indians offense may be the coldest thing in the heart of Hotlanta.

Tribe Bats fell in a deep freeze again at Turner Field Wednesday, falling to the Braves in a nail bitter for the second straight night, 3-2.

Right-hander Justin Masterson (14-9, 3.49 ERA) gave his team another quality start, allowing two runs on five hits through six innings. While the Cleveland ace did surrender four walks on top of his six strikeouts, it wouldn’t be enough to grab the win on this night without any backing offensively.

Like his teammate Danny Salazar one night ago, Masterson made just one mistake in his six innings of work. Walking the opposing starter Paul Maholm with two outs to load up the bases in the second, right fielder Jordan Schafer ripped a two-run single to put Atlanta up 2-0.

Finishing the game 3-for-4 with two RBI, it was Schafer that scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth on a walk-off two out single by third baseman Chris Johnson off Tribe reliever Joe Smith.

Coming into the game 0-3 with a 10.66 ERA in his last three starts, the Indians offense was left guessing for most of the night against Maholm (9-10, 4.37 ERA). The lefty tossed six innings giving up only one run on six hits.

After getting blanked by the Braves lefty for the first 12 innings of the series, third baseman Mike Aviles changed all that with one swing of the bat in the fourth. Belting his eighth homer off Maholm, the solo shot gave the Tribe their first run of the series cutting Atlanta’s lead to one.

More opportunities came and went over the next three innings, before a questionable move was made in the seventh.

With Michael Brantley on second with one out, Tribe manager Terry Francona decided pass on both Yan Gomesand Jason Giambi to instead pinch hit outfielder Matt Carson for Masterson.

Called up from Triple-A Columbus Wednesday after outfielder Ryan Raburn was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained left Achilles, Carson’s career batting average coming into the ballgame was .212 in 166 big league at-bats.

The 32-year old journeyman struck out on three straight pitches before Michael Bourn flew out to left field to end another threat.

Cleveland however would make a game out of it tying things up in the eighth off Braves reliever Luis Avilan. It was Aviles that struck again for his second RBI of the night with a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded to knot the game up at two.

One pitch later, the Tribe would make their biggest blunder of the night, courtesy of Asdrubal Cabrera.

With runners on the corners and two outs, Cabrera was caught stealing second thinking Brantley fouled off a ball. Tagged out between second and first, it was the icing on an already dismal night for the Indians on the road.

Getting their leadoff hitter on in three of the final four innings, the Tribe blew plenty of opportunities to cash in through the clutch, finishing the night 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position leaving seven on base.

Over their last seven games, the Indians offense have hit just .148 (8-for-54) with RISP while leaving 61 runners on base. Braves closer Craig Kimbrel (3-2, 0.99 ERA) picked up the win for Atlanta.

With the heartbreaking loss, Cleveland (71-61) falls to four games in back of the Oakland Athletics for the final wild card spot, as they continue to beat up the first place Detroit Tigers. The Wahoo’s remain 5 1/2 games behind the Motor City Kitties in the A.L. Central.

They also fall to 14-44 on the year when scoring three runs or less.

The Tribe will look for to avoid the sweep Thursday in the series finale, as Ubaldo Jimenez (9-8, 3.95 ERA) takes the rubber against Braves right-hander Kris Medlen (10-12, 3.74 ERA). Jimenez has allowed three runs or less in 14 of his last 15 starts.

Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at jberdysz27@gmail.com.

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