Little Cowboy Rides Again in Tribe Win; Indians 6, White Sox 1
Bob Toth | On 14, Sep 2016
Josh Tomlin gave Cleveland five solid innings in his first start since August 30 and the Indians offense supplied six runs of support in a 6-1 win over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.
It was a step in the right direction for the struggling Indians starter, who ended a personal five-game skid on the mound with five innings before handing the ball over to the bullpen with a sizeable lead that they maintained the rest of the way. Tomlin improved to 12-8 with his outing, allowing a run on four hits, striking out a pair, while issuing no walks and no home runs.
It was less predictability from Tomlin on the mound, despite replicating his early season command of the strike zone while keeping the ball in the yard. He was able to outduel Chicago left-hander Carlos Rodon, who had thrown seven straight quality starts coming into the night and had never been dealt a loss by Cleveland. He allowed all six runs on nine hits with three walks and five strikeouts to drop to 7-9.
Cleveland fell behind 1-0 in the third inning, but used a pair of three-run frames to respond and knock out the young southpaw Rodon, dealing him the rare loss of late. A one-out single from Tyler Saladino turned into the lone White Sox run as Adam Eaton tripled to right off of Tomlin in his second at bat of the night.
The Indians got a big hit with runners in scoring position from the usual reliable source in Jose Ramirez. With one out, Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana worked walks against Rodon before Ramirez tripled to right, plating both runners to give the Indians the lead. Brandon Guyer continued the scoring by once again contributing against a left-hander, singling to left-center to score the Indians’ third run of the inning.
They wasted a pair in scoring position in the fifth after a leadoff double from Rajai Davis. Jason Kipnis singled him to third and, after a strikeout by Francisco Lindor, stole third. Still with just one out, Rodon was able to contain Cleveland by getting a grounder from Napoli and a liner from Santana to end the threat.
The Indians needed one big swing in the sixth to blow the game open for Tomlin, who had retired eight of nine after the Eaton RBI-triple. Ramirez and Guyer each singled to start the frame before Coco Crisp homered to left, giving the Indians a 6-1 lead and sending Rodon to the showers.
Manager Terry Francona went to his bullpen with the big lead, using Dan Otero, Bryan Shaw, Andrew Miller, and Cody Allen in a taste of what his postseason bullpen could look like. Otero allowed a one-out single in the sixth, while Allen gave up a single to Melky Cabrera to start the ninth before retiring the next three in order to end it.
Cleveland improved to 84-61 on the season and maintained a six-game lead over the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central after the second place club defeated the Minnesota Twins by a 9-6 final. The win reduced the Indians’ magic number to 12 as the door continues to close further and further on the Tigers in the division.
The fourth place White Sox fell to 70-75 on the season and dropped to 40-33 at home.
Mike Clevinger (2-2, 5.01 ERA) will start for Cleveland in the series finale on Thursday afternoon against Chicago’s James Shields (3-10, 7.30). Game time from U.S. Cellular Field is scheduled for 2:10 PM ET.
Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images