Indians End Home Homer Drought in Rout of Padres; Indians 11, Padres 2
Bob Toth | On 06, Jul 2017
After a pair of disappointing efforts in the first two games of their interleague series with the San Diego Padres, the Cleveland Indians put together one of their more complete performances of the season in an 11-2 rout of San Diego, avoiding the dreaded three-game sweep in the series finale on Thursday night.
Josh Tomlin was solid in an outing that he desperately needed. The offense was alive, active, aggressive (maybe to a fault), and contributing consistently throughout, one night after scoring just two runs while accumulating 14 hits. The bullpen even chipped in as the Indians improved to 45-39 on the season and remained atop the American League Central Division for another day.
With Tomlin on the mound, there was the distinct possibility that the offense would have to step up to the plate and at the plate to help aid their stopper as the Tribe looked to salvage a win from the Friars. A three-run first inning would certainly set the tone as Francisco Lindor singled and scored on a triple to right by Michael Brantley. He would score two batters later as Jose Ramirez continued his All-Star first half with a two-out, two-run home run to give the Indians a 3-0 lead.
Making his first career start against the Padres, Tomlin looked like the pitcher that he showed himself to be in the clutch at times last season. He struck out a batter in the first, two in the second, and two more in the third while facing the minimum in that span. The Indians gave him a little more wiggle room in the bottom half of the third as Brantley walked and Edwin Encarnacion singled to left. An error by Padres pitcher Dinelson Lamet loaded the bases and Lonnie Chisenhall drove home a run with a sacrifice fly to right as all runners moved up 90 face. A walk by Abraham Almonte loaded the bases and Bradley Zimmer chipped in with a sacrifice fly of his own to score Encarnacion before Ramirez was thrown out attempting a delayed tag up to third after the San Diego third baseman briefly mishandled the throw in from left.
Tomlin breezed through the fourth, adding a sixth strikeout to his stat sheet on the night. The Padres ended any threat of a perfect game or no-hitter in the fifth when Hunter Renfroe doubled to lead off the inning. Cory Spangenberg singled him to third before Erick Aybar knocked in a run with a ground rule double to right. After a fly out to center, Allen Cordoba hit a sacrifice fly to deep left to knock in a second run, but Tomlin escaped further harm with a grounder to third, minimizing the big inning in the 5-2 game.
Encarnacion’s big night at the plate continued as he sent the first pitch of the home half of the fifth deep to center, giving the Indians a 6-2 lead while knocking the rookie Lamet out of the ball game. Gomes followed in similar fashion leading off the seventh against Jose Torres, sending a majestic blast to the trees of Heritage Park to expand the lead to five runs. Jason Kipnis reached with a ground rule double to deep center before two outs were recorded. Encarnacion stepped in and delivered again, slapping a double towards the right field corner to drive in Kipnis and bring Kevin Quackenbush on in relief. He would allow a single to center to Ramirez that scored Encarnacion, but Ramirez was again caught in no man’s land and tagged out after a brief rundown for the final out of the inning with Cleveland up 9-2.
The Indians stranded runners on the corners in the seventh, but would add two more runs in the eighth. Brantley and Encarnacion each singled with one out before Ramirez lined to center after a 13-pitch battle with Quackenbush. Chisenhall stepped back to the plate and plated a pair with a two-run double to left to tally the final runs of the night in the 11-2 win.
Tomlin (5-9) started the night with 12 straight retired and sat down nine more in a row heading into the eighth, when he allowed a single to start the inning before Bryan Shaw entered in relief. The Indians starter worked seven-plus, allowing just two runs on four hits in his quality start. He struck out six and walked a pair to earn his fifth win of the season. Shaw and Shawn Armstrong worked scoreless innings in relief, with both pitchers striking out a batter.
Lamet (3-3), coming off of a career-best outing against Atlanta his last time out, was tagged for six runs (five earned) on six hits with four walks and five strikeouts in four-plus innings. Home run balls, which have been a slight issue for the rookie righty this season, proved to be a lingering issue once again as the two long balls he surrendered on the night contributed to the early scoring for the Tribe. The Padres bullpen, which had looked untouchable at times in the first two games of the series, was hardly that on Thursday as Torres allowed three runs on four hits while retiring five batters and Quackenbush was charged with two runs on four hits in two innings.
The Padres (36-49) dropped to 14-27 on the road after winning the first two games of the series. For the first time in the five total series between the two clubs, San Diego claimed a series win, as the Indians had previously posted 2-1 wins in each of their first four head-to-head battles. The Padres will head east to Philadelphia for a three-game weekend set with the Phillies in their final series before the All-Star break.
Encarnacion had four hits on the night to lead the Indians offense with his eighth career four-hit game. He drove in two runs and crossed home plate four times himself. Ramirez was right behind him in the lineup and in the offensive production, going 3-for-5 with three RBI and one run scored. In his five trips to the batter’s box Thursday, he saw 30 pitches. Yet another multi-hit game from the All-Star third baseman pushed his season batting average to .330. Chisenhall chipped in three more RBI to give him a team-leading 49 on the year.
Every Indians starter had at least one hit except Almonte, who did reach base safely on a walk.
The Tribe will stay put in Cleveland and await their next opponent, the Detroit Tigers, as the two clubs will play in the final three games of the first half. The Indians took two of three in what was supposed to be a four-game series with the Tigers last weekend in Detroit. Carlos Carrasco (9-3, 3.50 ERA) is the scheduled starter for the Indians in Friday’s 7:10 PM ET start, with Detroit sending Jordan Zimmermann (5-6, 5.58) to the mound in a rematch of the second game of last Saturday’s doubleheader, a game that Cleveland won.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images