Tribe continue playoff push in Atlanta

The Cleveland Indians try to get themselves closer in the American League playoff chase on Tuesday when they kick off a three-game interleague series with the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.

Cleveland may be 5 1/2 games back of the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central, but has won five of six and nine of 13 and is just two games back of the second wild card spot.

The Indians rode a two-run homer from Drew Stubbs on Sunday and picked up a 3-1 win against Minnesota, despite committing four errors.

"We were trying every way we could to give it away," Stubbs said. "We played a very sloppy game, but it says a lot about this team that we were able to hang in there and pull out the win."

The Tribe, which is in the midst of playing 15 of 18 on the road, had lost six in a row prior to their current run and following this set they head to Detroit in a series that could ultimately decide their divisional fate.

But first things first, as Cleveland faces an Atlanta team that is 13 games up in the National League East, but enters this series with just two wins in its last six games after salvaging the finale of a three-game set with the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.

"You don't want to get swept especially by a team that's a playoff team that you have the potential of seeing," said outfielder Jordan Schafer. "You don't want them to have confidence if you face them in the playoffs."

Getting the call for the Braves on Tuesday will be rookie left-hander Alex Wood, who is 2-2 with a 2.50 ERA. Wood has not received a decision in any of his last three starts, but has allowed just two runs in 18 1/3 innings of those outings.

Wood, whose 1.11 ERA in August is the fifth-lowest among starters with at least 20 innings pitched, did not factor in a decision against the New York Mets on Wednesday, despite giving up a run and six hits in six innings of his team's 4-1 win.

"I thought I made some pitches when I needed to; that's all you can ask," Wood said. "These kinds of days are the ones that test you, and you kind of show your true colors if you battle through when you don't really have that great of stuff."

Cleveland, meanwhile, will turn to a rookie of its own in righty Danny Salazar, who is 1-1 with a 3.52 ERA. He did not get a decision in Anaheim last Tuesday, but pitched well, surrendering a run in 5 1/3 innings of the Angels' 4-1 win.

"He threw the ball really well," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He gave up a leadoff homer again, but other than that, he was really good."

Dating back to 1921, Salazar's 29 strikeouts are the second-most by an Indians pitcher in his first four career games, trailing only Herb Score's 40 in 1955.

Atlanta took two of three from the Indians the last time these teams squared off back in 2007.