Tomlin Terrific in One-Hit Masterpiece; Indians 5, Mariners 0
Bob Toth | On 29, Jun 2014
Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin was tremendous on the mound, facing just one batter over the minimum in limiting Seattle to one hit as the Indians defeated the Mariners by a 5-0 final on Saturday night.
Tomlin (5-5) gave the Indians all that they could ask for on the mound. He struck out eleven batters in his complete game shutout, establishing a personal single-game high, and allowed just one fifth inning base runner on the night. It was the first complete game by Tomlin since September 24th, 2010, in his eleventh career start, and just the second of his career. It was the first complete game shutout in his career.
The offense rewarded Tomlin’s outing with five runs of offense, which usually equates to wins for the Tribe. The Indians are now 27-5 when scoring five runs or more this season.
The Indians wasted no time jumping on Mariners starter Roenis Elias in the first. With an out recorded, Asdrubal Cabrera doubled down the left field line and scored on a single to left by Michael Brantley. The throw to the plate was off-line, allowing Brantley to move up to second base. He would score on a double to left center by Carlos Santana, giving the Indians the quick 2-0 lead just four batters into the game.
Cleveland tacked on two more in the fifth. Mike Aviles singled to left. Michael Bourn extended his hitting streak to seven straight with a double to right-center, scoring the hustling Aviles to make it 3-0. Elias balked Bourn to third, allowing the Tribe center fielder to score easily on the sacrifice fly that followed from Cabrera, giving the Indians a 4-0 advantage.
After retiring the first 12 batters in order, Tomlin gave up a leadoff single in the bottom of the fifth to Kyle Seager, who was robbed of potential extra bases in the second on a sprint and a dive from right fielder Ryan Raburn. He advanced with two outs to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on an errant throw from Yan Gomes, but was stranded at third as Tomlin struck out Michael Saunders looking for the third out and his fifth strikeout of the night.
“It was a fastball away. I guess I caught him off-guard and he was guessing something else and he just took it,” said Tomlin. “For me, that’s what I have to do, keep them guessing. Try to keep hard contact off as much as I can and try to go as deep as I can.”
Seager entered the game hitting .613 in his last eight games in Seattle. He was 3-for-4 in Friday’s series opener and came into play Saturday hitting .395 for his career against the Indians.
Gomes made up for the error in the next half inning and took advantage of a mistake by the Mariners. With two outs, Gomes popped up towards the Mariners dugout. Seattle skipper Lloyd McClendon, who was seated at the protective fence, tried to lean out of the way with the ball dropping in his vicinity. Catcher Mike Zunino had the ball glance off of his glove and on the very next pitch, Gomes drove a pitch over the wall in left-center to give Tomlin a five-run cushion.
Elias (7-6) endured six innings for the M’s, throwing 100 pitches on the night. He allowed five runs, all earned, on six hits, walking two and striking out two.
Tomlin retired the first twelve in a row and followed his recipe to success – first pitch strikes. He was strike one to eleven of the first 16 hitters he faced before falling behind on the first pitch to each batter in the sixth. Even then, he came back 1-2 on two of the three that frame. He struck out the side in the eighth and four straight back to the final out of the seventh. He threw first pitch strikes to 18 of 28 batters in the ball game.
“Throwing strikes, commanding the baseball, being able to go both sides of the plate, and actually throw four pitches for a strike tonight,” said Tomlin when asked what made him so effective. “I was following Yan the whole game. We knew when to throw a ball and when to throw a strike. That was what was working most of the night.”
Since at least 1914, Tomlin is the only Cleveland pitcher to record a shutout with just one hit allowed, no walks, eleven or more strikeouts, while facing one over the minimum.
“It was awesome. I felt good tonight,” said Tomlin. “Yan had great fingers, great defense behind me, it all had to work out to do that. The guys played great and I was able to keep them in the game.”
With the win, the Indians improve to 39-41 on the season and are now 16-26 on the road. The Mariners drop to 43-38 and 20-22 at home. Both teams will maintain their third place positions in their respective divisions.
The Indians will have their work cut out for them on Sunday, as former Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez (9-2, 2.24 ERA) takes the mound. Left-hander T.J. House (0-1, 4.88) will be recalled from Triple-A Columbus with a corresponding roster move yet to be announced.
First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM ET from Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. Follow all of the action on Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio and the affiliates of the Cleveland Indians Radio Network.
Photo: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren