ATLANTA: Danny Salazar threw seven innings, Lonnie Chisenhall hit his second homer of the series and the Indians stretched their winning streak to 12 games by beating the Atlanta Braves 3-0 on Wednesday night.
The Indians swept their fourth straight series to extend the majors’ longest winning streak this season. They began the day leading the second-place Kansas City Royals by six games in the AL Central.
The Indians need one more win to match the longest winning streaks in franchise history. They won 13 straight in 1942 and 1951. They had another 12-game streak in 1922.
Jason Kipnis broke a scoreless tie with a two-run single in the fifth.
Salazar (10-3) was dominant, allowing five hits with no walks and eight strikeouts. He lowered the AL’s second-best ERA to 2.22 while winning his sixth straight start.
Cody Allen gave up a leadoff single to Nick Markakis in the ninth and walked Erick Aybar with two outs before ending the game on Emilio Bonifacio’s grounder to second for his 16th save.
Braves right-hander Joel De La Cruz (0-1), recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett for his major league debut, allowed three runs in six innings.
De La Cruz opened with four scoreless innings before allowing the two-run single to Kipnis with two outs in the fifth.
De La Cruz found more two-out trouble in the sixth when Chisenhall’s high homer landed midway up the lower level of the seats in right.
The Braves signed De La Cruz, 27, as a minor league free agent after he played in the Yankees’ organization in 2015.
Right-hander Bryan Shaw struck out Freddie Freeman to close the eighth with runners on first and second. It was the third strikeout of the game for Freeman, who shattered his bat as he slammed it to the ground in frustration. Freeman also bounced his helmet off ground.
Atlanta’s Jace Peterson had two doubles to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 10 games.
Braves center fielder Ender Inciarte made a leaping catch of Mike Napoli’s drive at the wall in the seventh.
De La Cruz singled in his first at-bat in the third inning for his first major league hit. The ball was tossed into the Braves’ dugout on the first-base line to be saved. With De La Cruz standing nearby on first base, a laughing Aybar pretended to throw the ball over the dugout roof into the stands.
The Indians’ first glimpse of De La Cruz came a day before the game. Manager Terry Francona said he saw the right-hander after De La Cruz, carrying Braves luggage, checked in at the Indians’ hotel on Wednesday night.
Asked if he knew anything about De La Cruz, Francona said “Well, I rode the elevator with him last night. I was going to my room and I saw this kid with a bag. I said, ‘You must be De La Cruz.’ He laughed. We haven’t seen him pitch.
‘‘But I’ve shaken his hand.”