Indians, Braves facing unknowns in series finale

Field Level Media

The big inning has played a prominent role in the first two games of the Atlanta Braves' interleague series against the host Cleveland Indians.

With each team landing haymakers in the doubleheader, the clubs will look to deliver the knockout blow on Sunday night in the rubber match of the series.

The Indians enjoyed a six-run fifth inning in an 8-4 victory in the opener, and appeared poised to ride a five-run second to their fifth straight win in the nightcap.

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The Braves, however, had other ideas and capped their rally from a seven-run deficit by posting a five-run ninth inning in an 8-7 victory.

"We've never given up, we've never surrendered. We're going to keep at it until that 27th out. That never changes," Ronald Acuna Jr. said through a translator after ripping a two-run double to complete the uprising and snap Atlanta's four-game losing skid.

"These guys fight 'til the end and they never feel like they're out of a game. So, I never feel like they're out of a game. ... That's the thing I admire the most about this group -- and that's a good trait to have," Braves coach Brian Snitker said.

Atlanta left-hander Max Fried (2-0, 0.92 ERA) will look to continue his team's momentum, as well as prevent the big inning, on Sunday night.

Fried turned in his third straight strong start on Tuesday by yielding two runs on seven hits in six innings of a no-decision against Arizona. He has permitted just three runs on 13 hits and kept the ball in the park in five appearances (19 2/3 innings) this season.

The 25-year-old Fried has yet to face Cleveland in his young career, although he has retired Kevin Plawecki (0-for-3), Carlos Santana (0-for-2), Carlos Gonzalez (0-for-2) and Mike Freeman (0-for-1) in brief encounters.

Fried will also need to keep an eye on three-time All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor, who scored a run in the nightcap in his season debut after being activated earlier on Saturday.

"I had a blast," Lindor said of his return. "Unfortunately, we lost. It's not the outcome we wanted. But it's good. It felt good to be out there with the team. Felt good to listen to the crowd. It was a tough game, but I was happy to be a part of it."

Fried will be opposed by right-hander Shane Bieber (2-0, 1.71 ERA), who won his second straight start on Tuesday after allowing one run on four hits in six innings of a 4-2 victory in Seattle.

Bieber has permitted four runs on 11 hits in four appearances (21 innings) this season and limited the opposition to a .147 batting average.

The 23-year-old Bieber will be making his first career start against Atlanta and has not faced any member of its roster.

"They're a really tough lineup to match up against," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "Part of it is the way they're constructed, and part of it is their hitters. So they really present problems when you start thinking about going left-right."

--Field Level Media

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