Texas Stops Stopper Tomlin at Seven; Rangers 9, Indians 2
Bob Toth | On 30, May 2016
Everything continues to be bigger for Texas as the Rangers pounded Indians starter Josh Tomlin for eight early runs on the way to an easy 9-2 win in Cleveland on Monday night.
The Rangers scored early and they scored often in pacing starter Derek Holland to a big lead. Just two batters into the game, they had the lead as Jurickson Profar singled to left off of Tomlin and Ian Desmond homered the same direction.
Texas added another in the second after a single from Elvis Andrus and a double from northeast Ohio native Ryan Rua put two in scoring position with one out. Bryan Holaday lifted a sacrifice fly to center to score Andrus, giving the Rangers a 3-0 lead.
Things spiraled out of control in the third on a questionable decision from the home plate umpire with two outs. Desmond led off the inning with a double and moved to third on a groundout from Prince Fielder. Adrian Beltre reached on an infield single deep in the hole to short before Nomar Mazara popped out for the second out. Mitch Moreland dribbled a ball back to Tomlin, but his throw to Mike Napoli at first base hit the Texas runner in the base of his helmet. Replays showed that the Ranger was just to the left of the first base line, putting him into fair territory and out of the base runner’s box. The play, which is not reviewable under the current standards set by Major League Baseball, led to Desmond scoring from third on what could have been the final out of the inning. Andrus followed with an RBI single to left to make it 5-0.
The rout was on as the Rangers piled on with four more in the fourth. Holaday singled and advanced to second on a groundout. After a line out from Desmond, Fielder knocked home Holaday with a single to center. Beltre reached on an error at third by Juan Uribe to end the evening of Tomlin. Austin Adams relieved and Mazara cleared the bases with a three-run clout on his second pitch, estimated by ESPN Stats & Info at 453 feet to straightaway center field, to make it a 9-0 ball game.
The Indians scored a pair, but it was hardly enough to make up for the giant deficit. Napoli delivered his eleventh homer of the season to left in the sixth and Marlon Byrd led off the seventh with a solo homer off of Cesar Ramos on the first pitch of his night.
Holland evened up his record at 4-4 with the win while Tomlin was dealt his first loss of the season, dropping him to 7-1. Ramos was credited with his first save with his three innings of one-run relief.
The Rangers (30-21) have now won eight of their last ten games and improve to 12-12 on the road. The Indians (26-23) maintain pace with the Chicago White Sox, who lost 1-0 to the New York Mets earlier in the holiday, while the game between first place Kansas City and Tampa Bay had not concluded at the time of this post.
HOLLAND HOLDS DOWN TRIBE
Holland (4-4, 4.78 ERA) held down the Indians high-scoring offense, limiting the second-best runs per game club in the American League to just one run on six hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out two on 92 pitches.
NO STOP IN TOMLIN THIS TIME
The stopper Tomlin (7-1, 3.79) could not stop the Indians mini-skid from growing to a second game on Monday. He lasted just three and two-thirds innings, giving up eight runs on nine hits, but just four of the runs were earned. He struck out one and did not walk a batter in his short outing. He struggled to get ahead in the count early, Tomlin’s bread and butter, as he threw first pitch strikes to just eleven of the 22 batters he faced.
“He left a cutter up early to the second hitter of the game and then they just tacked on,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “It had the chance to be three, but we had the little roller to first. And they scored a couple runs when I was going to my office, so I’m not sure what happened there.”
Tomlin entered the game 12-0 in his last 13 outings when starting after an Indians loss.
MERRITT MAKES HIS DEBUT
Rookie left-hander Ryan Merritt made his long anticipated Major League debut on Monday night, entering the game in the fifth inning in relief of Adams. He threw four and one-third scoreless innings, giving up a single to the first batter he faced while striking out two.
“Good for him. He’s been waiting patiently and keeping his eyes open,” said Francona. “He came in and threw the ball over the plate, got a double play, and really, really did well. I’m sure he’s probably taking a sigh of relief that he’s pitched, and he held his nerves in check, and he threw strikes.”
Thirty-two of his 40 pitches in the game were for strikes, including the first pitch to ten of the 13 batters he faced. It was just the sixth time in his professional career that he has pitched in relief.
Tribe skipper Francona got tossed by home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez in the third inning after the balls and strikes caller missed the interference call on Moreland that led to a two-out run on the play and kept the inning going for the Rangers to add on more.
“If you had a chance to look at it, the runner veered back into the base line,” said Francona. “I thought he started out okay! And then it looked like he wanted to get in the way of the throw. I think that’s exactly why they put the rule in place. The umpire didn’t…I don’t know what he saw. I didn’t get a very good explanation. I couldn’t get any explanation. He didn’t say anything. He just kept saying ‘that’s what I have’. And when I went out the second time, he threw me out, he wouldn’t talk to me.
“I’m still waiting.
“I wish he would have asked for help. I wish he would have done something.”
NAPOLI’S BLAST BIGGER THAN THE GAME
Prior to the game, Napoli signed autographs for fans down the third base line. One of those fans in attendance brought with her a sign that said “Chemo Starts Tomorrow. Mike Napoli Can I get a Hug and a Homer”.
Photos on the Indians Twitter account show Napoli signing an item in front of her, so it is unclear if she got her hug. But she did get her home run when the Indians slugger hit his eleventh of the season in the sixth.
TOO MANY E’S
The Indians committed four errors on the evening, but many were fluky at best. Tomlin was called for an error for plunking Moreland on the back of the helmet in the third. Had interference been ruled, no error would have occurred. Just prior to Tomlin’s exit following Uribe’s fielding error, the third baseman’s throw back to the Indians starter on the mound got lost in the sun, allowing both runners to move up. Tomlin was replaced by Adams and the two runners jogged home easily on Mazara’s homer two pitches later.
DOUBLE PLAY MACHINE
The Rangers turned four double plays on the night, pushing their MLB lead to 71. A total of 62 of those double plays turned have been on grounders, including all four Monday.
ANDRUS KILLS CLEVELAND AGAIN
Shortstop Andrus entered the game with a lifetime .366 batting average against the Indians and a career mark of .406 at Progressive Field. He acted like it on Monday, going 3-for-4 with three singles, a run scored, and one run batted in.
BIG DAY FOR BYRD
Lost in the disappointing results for the Indians in the loss was the big game from Byrd, who went 4-for-4 with two singles, a double, and a home run on just nine pitches. He bumped his batting average up to .270 on the season.
Corey Kluber (4-5, 3.78) will look to get his record back to the .500 mark for the first time since the final game of his Cy Young winning 2014 campaign in Tuesday’s start against Texas. The Rangers’ Colby Lewis (4-0, 3.38) will counter for Texas.
First pitch in game two of the three-game set is scheduled for 6:10 PM ET.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images