Josh Naylor, Ramon Laureano help Guardians outlast Braves 4-2 in 11 innings in meeting of top teams


ATLANTA — Josh Naylor and Ramon Laureano had RBIs in the 11th inning and the Cleveland Guardians beat the Atlanta Braves 4-2 on Saturday night in a game featuring the teams with the two best records in the majors.

Scott Barlow (1-2) escaped a bases loaded, no-out jam in the 10th inning, retiring Michael Harris II, Chadwick Tromp and Jarred Kelenic, to earn the win. Nick Sandlin pitched a perfect 11th to record his first save of the season.

“We’ve played a couple of these that have been exciting, but this one was fun,” said Guardians manager Stephen Vogt. “Two really good pitchers gave us seven innings of beautiful baseball. The back and forth, and the amount of talent on that field, it was a beautiful baseball game tonight.”

Naylor was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Steven Kwan was 3-for-5.

Tanner Bibee threw seven shutout innings for Cleveland, allowing just two hits to go along with nine strikeouts and no walks in his first career start against Atlanta. Bibee has thrown five or more innings with three or less runs allowed in 27 of his first 31 career starts, joining Matt Harvey as the only pitchers in MLB history to accomplish the feat.

“Throwing in a 0-0 game is always what you want to do,” said Bibee, who saw Braves starter Charlie Morton also throw seven scoreless. “You always want to have that adrenaline rush no matter how many innings you are going. He was awesome tonight. He held us to zero, I held them to zero and its just good baseball.

Barlow gave the Guardians a chance in the 10th, getting Harris to hit a tapper to the mound, striking out Tromp and inducing a grounder to second from Kelenic.

“When guys get out of big jams like that, that is the most exciting thing for us (in the bullpen),” said Sandlin said. “For him to do it with the bases loaded and a tie game, that was impressive.”

Dylan Lee (0-1) took the loss for the Braves, allowing one hit and one earned run. Morton surrendered four hits, one walk and struck out seven. The veteran threw 63 strikes on 93 pitches. Morton continued a string of quality starts for the Braves. In the last five games, Atlanta starters have given up just two runs in 36 2/3 innings.

The win was the seventh in the last nine games for the Guardians, who own the best record in the American League at 19-8. The Braves saw a four-game winning streak snapped.

Cleveland reliever Hunter Gaddis gave up his first two runs of the season in the eighth inning after the Guardians had taken a 2-0 lead.

Travis d’Arnaud hit a double that bounced on the left field foul line and scored Marcell Ozuna. Kelenic followed with a bloop single that scored Michael Harris II, but pinch runner Luke Williams was thrown out at the plate by Tyler Freeman.

The Guardians pushed two runs across in the eighth inning without hitting a ball out of the infield. Two infield hits and a bunt loaded the bases for José Ramírez. He grounded to second base and beat out the double play, allowing Bo Naylor to score. The Guardians then executed a double steal, with Ramírez just beating the throw at second base to give the Guardians a 2-0 lead.

“I can’t talk about (Ramírez) enough or find the words to describe what he does,” Vogt said. “He’s the epitome of a professional and the epitome of a baseball player.”

The Guardians nearly broke the scoreless tie in the sixth inning. With two outs and Ramírez on first, Naylor hit a double down the right field line. Ronald Acuña Jr. fielded it before it reached the wall, threw it to first baseman Matt Olson, who nailed Ramirez at the plate.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Guardians: LHP Sam Hentges (left middle finger swelling) threw 17 pitches at Triple-A Columbus on Friday as he gets closer to being activated, throwing 2/3 of an inning and allowing a hit and walk with one strikeout. Guardians manager Steven Vogt said he has at least one more rehab appearance with Columbus and then the team will reassess.

UP NEXT

The three-game series wraps up with Braves RHP Bryce Elder (1-0, 0.00) making his second start of the season against Guardians RHP Ben Lively (0-1, 2.38) on Sunday.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB



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