Hot-hitting Chisenhall bids Turner Field adieu

June 30th, 2016

ATLANTA -- Growing up in Morehead City, N.C., Lonnie Chisenhall came home every day and turned on TBS to watch his beloved Braves play.

He made the eight-hour trek to Turner Field only once as a child, when he saw the Reds face Atlanta at about 13 years old. He ultimately visited the ballpark again in 2013 during his third Major League season, but neither trip might ever hold the same place in his mind as the final one.

In the Indians' final game at Turner Field, Chisenhall's solo home run in the sixth inning proved to be the final blow in Wednesday's 3-0 victory over the Braves, helping extend the Tribe's winning streak to an MLB-best 12 games.

The right fielder's hot hitting has played an influential roll throughout the club's streak, as he's batted .359 (14-for-39) with three home runs and 10 RBIs since June 17.

"He's certainly been productive, and we've seen him where he can really get hot," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "His average is probably hovering around .300 now, and he's shown some pop with a couple of home runs. When we can get production all the way through the order, that certainly helps the cause."

Cleveland entered June just two games above .500. But over the course of this month, the Indians have been the best team in the Majors, posting a 21-6 record and a plus-65 run differential.

Chisenhall's offensive outburst has coincided with the Tribe's success. Since May 31, he's batted .322 (29-for-90) with 16 RBIs and all five of his home runs.

"I'm just trying to have those good at-bats where I get the barrel to the ball," he said. "I'm staying with my approach and not wavering from it, and I'm not trying to make a big adjustment after a tough day.

"I'm just continuing to believe in what I'm doing."

That hasn't always been easy for the 27-year-old. Once regarded as the top prospect in Cleveland's organization, Chisenhall entered the year with a career .257 batting average after struggling through bouts of inconsistency across his first five Major League seasons.

But since a rough start to the year, which he began on the disabled list with a left wrist impingement, Chisenhall has shown flashes of his potential.

"I'm guilty of riding the roller coaster," he said. "I try to stay level-headed, push the hot streaks and try to limit those cold streaks."

Chisenhall's home run on Wednesday accentuated his recent run of dominance. And while it also helped propel his team to the fourth 12-game winning streak in franchise history, it carries even more meaning coming in his final game at the Ted.

"It was awesome," Chisenhall said. "I think the Tigers are playing the last series here, so I'm sure that's going to be really exciting. But to play at the stadium, especially in its last year, I grew up watching and know it corner to corner, and I'm definitely going to miss it."