ATLANTA — Danny Salazar didn’t want to be the pitcher who couldn’t keep the Cleveland Indians’ winning streak alive.
In the process, the right-hander extended his personal win streak.
Salazar threw seven innings, Lonnie Chisenhall hit his second homer of the series and Cleveland stretched its winning streak to 12 games by beating the Atlanta Braves 3-0 on Wednesday night.
Cleveland swept its fourth straight series to extend the majors’ longest winning streak this season. The Indians began the day leading second-place Kansas City by six games in the AL Central.
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 and keeping the Indians on their roll.
Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Danny Salazar delivers in the first inning against the Braves on Wednesday in Atlanta.
"Of course I want to keep going with the streak and that was my main goal today, to try to get a win for the team, and I got it," Salazar said.
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.
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.
Salazar acknowledged he struggled early to adjust to the Atlanta heat, even though the first-pitch temperature of 88 degrees was moderate for recent weeks.
"Early it didn’t look like he had the energy in his body," manager Terry Francona said.
"Even when you think he’s not as sharp, he can put up zeroes."
Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said Salazar was "Just like advertised. He was real tough."
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.
Chisenhall’s high homer landed midway up the lower level of the seats in right in the sixth.
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.
BLAME THE BAT
Right-hander Brian 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.
Braves batters were 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position, continuing their season-long struggles.
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. 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."
Indians: C Roberto Perez (broken right thumb) is moving closer to game action. Francona said Perez might play as a DH in a minor league rehab game as soon as this weekend. Perez required surgery and has been out since May 1.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco (3-2, 2.73) will make his 10th start of the season as Cleveland opens a series at Toronto on Thursday night.
Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (sore right elbow) will come off the 15-day DL to start in Thursday night’s series opener against Miami instead of making a second rehab start with Triple-A Gwinnett. RHP Julio Teheran’s scheduled start was pushed back one day to Friday to give him extra day’s rest.