Hamels and Rangers Handcuff Punchless Tribe on Two-Hitter; Rangers 9, Indians 0
Bob Toth | On 25, Aug 2016
Bad pitching from Josh Tomlin and no offense from the lineup made for a bad time for the Indians on Thursday as Cleveland was blanked by the Texas Rangers, 9-0.
Tomlin’s on-going struggles on the mound continued on Thursday while the Indians offense had no answers for All-Star left-hander Cole Hamels, who was at the top of his game in his start for the Rangers.
After a quick and harmless first inning, Tomlin tossed up a tater to Texas, burying his team in a 3-0 hole that would prove to be far too much to attempt to overcome. All the damage came with two outs, as Jonathan Lucroy singled to center in his first at bat against the team he nearly became a part of less than one month earlier. Mitch Moreland drew a walk and new Rangers outfielder Carlos Gomez sent them all to home plate to celebrate with a three-run blast to left, giving Texas an early lead on the 33rd home run allowed by Tomlin this season, tops in the AL.
Tomlin retired eight straight until the fifth, when the Rangers put the game well out of reach. Elvis Andrus continued his dominance of Cleveland pitching with a one-out single to center and moved to third on a single by rookie Nomar Mazara. Ian Desmond drove in the fourth run of the game with a single to right and Carlos Beltran drove in another on an error by Mike Napoli at first. Adrian Beltre blew the game open with the second homer of the game, a three-run shot to left-center to give the Rangers an 8-0 lead while sending Tomlin to another early shower.
After giving up a two-out single to Francisco Lindor in the first, Hamels completely shut down the Indians lineup, who had managed just one solo run in each of the previous three games of their road trip. Hamels set down 19 consecutive batters until Carlos Santana singled to start the eighth, but he would be stranded at second base after advancing on a one-out passed ball.
The Indians (72-54) dropped their third straight game on their seven-game AL West trip while watching their AL Central lead shrink back to four and a half games after the Detroit Tigers rolled the Minnesota Twins again earlier in the day. It marked the fourth time this season that the club was shut out. The Rangers (75-53) increased their lead over the Indians for the top record in the American League with the win. They are averaging wins at home in two out of every three games, earning a 40-20 record so far on the year.
TOMLIN LOSES FIFTH STRAIGHT
Indians starter Tomlin (11-8, 4.70 ERA) once again was destroyed by the tater, giving up a pair to bury the Cleveland offense. He lasted just four and one-third innings on the mound, allowing eight runs (seven earned) on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
Tomlin’s aggressiveness on the mound may have been exploited by the Rangers, as Tomlin threw first pitch strikes to 17 of the 22 batters that he faced, yet allowed plenty of traffic in advance of the two blasts coughed up.
The native of Texas has earned the loss in each of his last five starts and has just one start all season in which he has failed to surrender a home run.
HAMELS LOOKS EVERY BIT THE ALL-STAR
Hamels (14-4, 2.67) was far too much for the punchless Indians lineup to handle on Thursday, limiting Cleveland to just two base runners among the 26 batters that he faced. He allowed just two singles on the night while striking out eight on 102 pitches lobbed.
“He’s got the whole thing,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “He’s got a fastball, he can cut it, a great changeup. He had everything working tonight, and you give him a lead, he knows what to do with it.”
BLOOD IN THE WATER?
Mike Clevinger came on in relief of Dan Otero in the sixth inning and threw two innings of scoreless relief. He struck out the side in order in the sixth and walked one batter in the seventh. In his brief appearance, he threw 25 pitches, 17 for strikes, in what could have been a mini-audition for a role in the Indians rotation if Tomlin or Danny Salazar do not survive the weekend series in Arlington.
GOMEZ RECALLED FROM TRIPLE-A
In a move that certainly paid off for Texas on Thursday, Gomez was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock prior to the game and inserted into the starting lineup. Former Indians outfielder Drew Stubbs was designated for assignment to make room for the once-productive slugger, who looked as though he still had something to prove on a Major League diamond.
The Indians announced prior to the game that the club had released right-handed reliever (and former Ranger) Tommy Hunter from his stay on the 15-day disabled list. He had been pitching on a rehab assignment with the Columbus Clippers while attempting to return from a back injury.
Indians ace Corey Kluber (13-8, 3.13) gets to play the stopper for Cleveland on Friday as the club looks to end a three-game losing streak. The Rangers will send left-hander Martin Perez (8-9, 4.27), who had dominated the opposition at home, posting a 7-1 record with a 2.36 ERA this season.
First pitch from Globe Life Park in Arlington is scheduled for 8:05 PM ET on Friday.
Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images