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No knocks against Wood in Braves' 2-0 win

The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- You might have a hard time convincing the Cleveland Indians that Atlanta Braves starter Alex Wood didn't have his best stuff on Tuesday night.

The rookie continued to make his case for staying in the starting rotation with 5 2/3 scoreless innings in Atlanta's 2-0 win at Turner Field.

Wood (3-2) has allowed no more than one run in his last five starts and has a 0.90 ERA in the past 30 innings. He gave up five hits and four walks and struck out five to win his second straight start.

"Today wasn't one of his best outings," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He wasn't as sharp as he's been before."

Wood allowed base runners every inning but managed to pitch out of the mess each time. The Indians stranded eight runners against the left-hander, but only one runner reached third base. He was helped by some stellar defense from shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who gunned out Michael Bourn and Mike Aviles on bang-bang plays at first base.

"I had to battle tonight," Wood said "I made the pitches when I had to and it turned out alright."

Relievers Luis Ayala, Scott Downs, Luis Avilan and Craig Kimbrel combined for the final 4 1/3 scoreless innings. Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 42nd save.

Wood gave credit to catcher Brian McCann, who has convinced him to trust his stuff, and pitching coach Roger McDowell, who paid a timely visit to the mound to give him a breather.

"He just came out to slow me down and tell me to make my pitches," Wood said.

Cleveland rookie Danny Salazar (1-2) was the hard-luck loser. He allowed two hits and struck out three in four innings in his fifth major league start. He was pulled after 77 pitches; the Indians are trying to play safe with their young pitcher.

"We're in a position when he as a long inning, we owe it to him and we owe it to the organization to keep an eye on him," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "He made one mistake really. That was the difference for him tonight."

The Braves got all the runs they needed when they scored twice in the second inning on Elliot Johnson's triple. Indians right fielder Drew Stubbs chased the ball back to the fence, but it glanced off his glove and caromed off the wall, allowing McCann and Joey Terdoslavich to score.

"That two-run knock took the weight off my shoulders," Wood said.

Most of the Cleveland threats came with two outs and even when the Indians had runners on base against Wood, they could not deliver a clutch hit. Their biggest wasted opportunity came when Asdrubal Cabrera led off the fourth with a double, went to third on a long fly ball and was stranded.

"In a game like that, you have to get a two-out hit," Francona said. "You'd like to create more opportunities and you'd like to cash in. But they've got a pretty good bullpen."

Johnson is now batting .278 (5-for-18) since being picked up on waivers from Kansas City. Johnson had been in an 0-for-31 slump before joining the Braves. With regular Dan Uggla likely to be activated on Wednesday, it's uncertain what Johnson's role will be.

"He's a nice piece to have," Gonzalez said. "He's a National League player ... a nice acquisition. We'll figure out where we can match him up."

The Braves continue to have trouble scoring runs. They've totaled only 12 in the five games since losing Jason Heyward to a broken jaw.

NOTES: Braves RHP Brandon Beachy was placed on the 15-day disabled list. He is suffering from inflammation in his right arm and is not showing any further structural damage. Beachy had a cortisone shot and will be shut down for 10-14 days. ... Heyward said he has lost 4-5 pounds since being hit in the face by a pitch on Aug. 21, but he hopes to be ready to play in the postseason. ... Atlanta 2B Dan Uggla (eye surgery) is expected to be activated on Wednesday after getting two rehab starts with Triple-A Gwinnett. ... The Indians have shut down No. 1 prospect SS Francisco Lindor for the year because of a back injury. Lindor had been on the disabled list since Aug. 14. ... Cabrera extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single in the second inning.
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