Tomlin Tagged Early and Often as Tribe Drops Series to Sox; White Sox 10, Indians 4
Bob Toth | On 13, Apr 2017
Michael Martinez pitched the ninth inning for the Tribe Thursday night. If that doesn’t answer the question of Did The Tribe Win Last Night well enough for you, the Chicago White Sox took the rubber match over the Cleveland Indians, 10-4.
One pitch into the night, the tone was set for the White Sox as Tim Anderson sent Josh Tomlin’s first offering over the wall for a leadoff home run. That started a string of batting practice for the White Sox against the Tribe right-hander, who could not slow down a Chicago offense which had scored just three runs in the first two games of the series.
Melky Cabrera followed with a single before Tomlin got a pair of outs, but the hits returned as Avisail Garcia singled to left to put two on with two outs. Matt Davidson slugged the first pitch he saw on the night over the wall in right and the Sox had a 4-0 lead. Carlos Sanchez doubled to right and Omar Narvaez delivered an RBI-single before the ninth man to bat in the inning, Leury Garcia, grounded out to end the inning.
The Indians threatened against White Sox starter Miguel Gonzalez in the bottom half, but could not get more than a run. Francisco Lindor worked a one-out walk and Michael Brantley doubled him to third before a walk to Edwin Encarnacion loaded the bases. The little clutch machine Jose Ramirez lofted a sacrifice fly to right to drive in Lindor, but Lonnie Chisenhall flied to left in his first at bat back with the club to end the inning.
Chicago knocked out Tomlin in the second. Cabrera walked with one out and Jose Abreu singled to left. A fly to center from Cody Asche moved both runners up and both scored on a single to center by A. Garcia to make it a 7-1 game and the end of Tomlin’s short outing. Shawn Armstrong came on in relief and struck out Davidson, but the Tribe was facing what would be an insurmountable deficit.
The Indians’ inability to drive in runs continued as they left a man at third in the second, first in the third, and on the corners in the fourth with just one out. But in the fifth, they were finally able to find home plate again as Brantley homered to right-center with one down to make it a 7-2 game. After the second out of the inning, Ramirez singled to left and scored all the way from first on a double to right by Chisenhall. A single from Yandy Diaz put runners on the corners and Sox manager Rick Renteria went to his bullpen, bringing on former Indians reliever Anthony Swarzak. The right-hander retired Abraham Almonte on a liner to right to end the rally.
That would be as close as the Indians would get, as the White Sox would tack on three more in the eighth against Zach McAllister and Dan Otero. Back-to-back singles from Narvaez and L. Garcia ended McAllister’s night. Otero got a pair of fielder’s choice outs at third base from Anderson and Cabrera, but three straight singles from Abreu, Asche, and A. Garcia each knocked in runs to make it a 10-3 game.
Yan Gomes put the final tally on the board for the night with his first home run of the season against Sox reliever Dan Jennings in the eighth, but Tommy Kahnle worked a quiet ninth, working around a two-out single from Ramirez after two strikeouts to start the inning.
With the loss, the Indians (4-5) fell below the .500 mark for the first time in 2017 and are two games behind the first place Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins. Through nine games, the offense has mustered just 35 runs and the club is facing the second-worst run differential in the American League at -13. The White Sox (4-4) pulled back to even with the win. While they too have scored just 35 runs in their eight games, they have held opposing offenses to just 24 runs scored, the lowest in all of baseball.
TOMLIN TAGGED EARLY AND OFTEN
The results were not good for Tomlin, who could not miss bats on Thursday night. Chicago swung and missed at just one of his 42 pitches on the night. He lasted just five outs and allowed seven runs on eight hits with a rare walk and no strikeouts. Two balls left the yard as his tendency to give up home runs continues into the early season.
GONZALEZ FAILS TO FACTOR IN DECISION
Despite the big lead, Gonzalez earned a no-decision on Thursday as he needed 101 pitches just to get through four and two-thirds innings. He was charged with three runs on eight hits while walking four and striking out five. His command was an issue throughout the night as he threw first pitch strikes to just nine of the 25 batters that he faced.
MARTINEZ MAKES PITCHING DEBUT
Martinez added another layer of depth to his role as a utility player as he took the mound in the ninth inning for the first time in his Major League career. He worked a scoreless ninth, giving up a double to L. Garcia.
It was not the first trip to the mound professionally for Martinez, who made a pair of relief appearances in the minor leagues while in the Washington Nationals organization in 2007.
It was a tough night at the top of the order for Carlos Santana, who went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. He was one of just two Indians (Encarnacion) to be held hitless in the contest.
A MAN OF MANY HATS
Davidson delivered the early three-run blow to open the game up, delivering a key hit for the second straight game. But just as he had done on Wednesday night, the rest of the game he was held in check as he struck out three times on the night for the second straight day.
Chisenhall was activated earlier in the afternoon from the 10-day disabled list and got the start in center field for the Indians on Thursday night. He had hit .333 during a four-game rehab assignment split between Triple-A Columbus and Double-A Akron.
Center fielder Tyler Naquin was optioned back to Triple-A. The move was described as difficult by manager Terry Francona, who shared that spending time on the bench was not the kind of move that was going to help Naquin find his way at the plate.
Second baseman Jason Kipnis, while playing with the Double-A RubberDucks on Wednesday night, was struck by a pitch in his left hand. Francona shared prior to Thursday’s game that his rehabbing infielder, working his way back from a right shoulder issue, suffered a bone bruise and is expected to only miss a couple of days.
TIME TO TAME THE TIGERS
The Indians will continue their six-game homestand with a weekend set against the Detroit Tigers.
Trevor Bauer (0-1, 6.35 ERA) will be the first Tribe starter in the series. The 26-year-old right-hander went toe-to-toe with Arizona right-hander Zack Greinke for most of his first start before things fell apart for him. He owns a 4-3 career record in ten games (nine starts), but has a 6.89 ERA and a 1.79 WHIP in those games. Left-hander Daniel Norris (0-0, 4.26) will oppose for Detroit. He has started three times against the Indians in his career and all three have come at Progressive Field. He owns a lifetime 1-0 record with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP and earned one of Detroit’s four wins against Cleveland in 18 tries last season. He allowed three runs on seven hits with three walks and two strikeouts in a no-decision against Boston in his first start of the year.
First pitch from Progressive Field is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET on Friday.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images