ATLANTA — Chris Johnson singled to left with two outs in the ninth inning for his first career walk-off hit as the Atlanta Braves won again at home, beating the Indians 3-2 Wednesday night.
Jordan Schafer drove in Atlanta’s first two runs, then scored the winner after reaching on an infield single and stealing his second base of the night. Freddie Freeman was intentionally walked before Johnson lined a 2-2 pitch to left off Joe Smith (5-2).
The Braves improved to 46-18 at Turner Field, the best home record in the majors.
Mike Aviles homered and drove in both Cleveland runs.
Craig Kimbrel (3-2) earned the win with a perfect ninth.
Justin Masterson pitched five-hit ball but made a crucial mistake in the second.
After Brian McCann led off with a single, Andrelton Simmons lined a two-out double into the left-field corner. Even though McCann was running on contact, the slow-moving catcher had no chance of coming all the way around to score on a ball that ricocheted off the wall, right to outfielder Michael Brantley.
Masterson was still in good shape with the light-hitting Paul Maholm coming up. He was batting just .133 and had not walked all season. But his Cleveland counterpart left four pitches outside the strike zone — and paid dearly for it.
Schafer came up next and ripped a single to left, bringing home two runs to put Atlanta ahead.
Aviles just cleared the left-field wall with his eighth homer of the season in the fourth, then tied it in the eighth with a sacrifice fly.
The Indians, seeking their first playoff berth since 2007, are off to a rough start in one of the most important stretches of the season.
After wrapping up their three-game series with the Braves, they move on to play three games in Detroit against the AL Central-leading Tigers before returning home to face Baltimore, another playoff contender.
Prior to the game, the Indians placed outfielder Ryan Raburn on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained left Achilles. The move was retroactive to Aug. 19.
Raburn had missed 10 of the last 11 games with soreness in his left foot. He is hitting .270 with 15 homers and 41 RBIs in 70 games.
The Indians purchased the contract of outfielder Matt Carson from Triple-A Columbus, where he was hitting .252 with 14 homers and 49 RBIs.