BRAVES 5, INDIANS 4 (7 innings)
at Turner Field
Saturday, March 29
Indians at the plate: Cleveland didn't overpower Mike Hampton, but it did bunch together three consecutive hits with two outs in the second inning to plate a run. Asdrubal Cabrera started the uprising, moved to second on a Franklin Gutierrez single and came home on a Casey Blake knock. The RBI was Blake's seventh of the spring and third in the two-game set. Designated hitter Travis Hafner also continued his hot hitting, singling in the first. He was 3-for-7 in the series with Atlanta. Gutierrez went 1-for-3 with an RBI. He finished the spring hitting a torrid .367.
Braves at the plate:
Chipper Jones and Brayan Pena had the only hits off Cleveland starter Jake Westbrook. Jones' single raised his spring average to .348 (16-for-46), but his chance for an RBI was thwarted when Gutierrez gunned down pinch-runner Brett Lillibridge at the plate in the fourth inning. Pena added another hit in the seventh inning, as the Braves rallied to take the lead with five runs, courtesy of five hits and two Indians errors. The game was called early due to rain.
Indians on the mound:
The next run Westbrook gives up will be his first in 2008. Westbrook threw four shutout innings, extending his spring scoreless streak to 18 innings over five starts. He had impeccable control (47 pitches, 33 strikes). Any chance to further extend the streak was ended by the hour-plus rain delay. He allowed only two hits, walking only one -- the first batter he faced -- while striking out three. Westbrook struck out 20 batters this spring while walking only five, three of them in one outing. Jorge Julio and Jensen Lewis added perfect frames out of the 'pen, as Cleveland relievers compiled a streak of five scoreless innings in the two games in Atlanta -- the streak ended in the seventh Saturday, as Masa Kobayashi allowed five runs, only one of them earned, in two-thirds of an inning.
Braves on the mound:
Hampton appears to have answered any questions about whether he's ready to start the season. The lefty finished the spring strong, allowing one run and four hits in three innings of work in his final spring tune-up. The only hiccup came with two out in the second, when he allowed a run on three consecutive singles. In five spring starts, Hampton allowed only five runs, four earned, in 16 2/3 innings (a 2.16 ERA). Another pitcher on the comeback trail, Damian Moss, struck out the side in the fifth inning and had four Ks in two innings but was touched up for three runs, two of them earned, in the sixth. Moss made a good showing this spring, allowing four earned runs in five innings of work. He's a candidate for Triple-A Richmond, but could end up in Double-A Mississippi. Sung Ki Jung pitched a scoreless seventh inning to get the win.
Spring Training records:
Indians 15-14-3; Braves 15-15-2.
Up next for Indians:
The Tribe will work out on Sunday at Progressive Field before opening the 2008 season on Monday afternoon against the Chicago White Sox. C.C. Sabathia takes the ball for Cleveland, looking to notch consecutive Opening Day victories over the White Sox. Last season, he handled the ChiSox, allowing three runs and eight hits in six innings. Mark Buehrle gets the ball for Chicago.
Up next for Braves:
Atlanta opens its season on Sunday night in Washington in the inaugural game at Nationals Park. Tim Hudson makes his fifth career Opening Day start and second for the Braves (he had a no-decision in 2006 at Los Angeles). Former Brave Odalis Perez starts for Washington. The Braves are 1-1 in season openers against the Nationals/Expos, winning 6-0 in 1986 and losing 10-2 in 2003; both games were played in Atlanta.
Jon Cooper is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.