Detroit erupts for seven runs in extras, sending Tribe to 11-4 defeat
Indians offense comes back from early deficit, but Tomlin falters late
CLEVELAND—For the second straight night, the Indians blanked Detroit through nine innings of play Thursday.
There’s just one problem.
The game went 11 innings, and two of those innings combined to result in 11 runs for the surging Tigers.
Deadlocked in a 4-4 tie in extras, Motown scored seven runs on five hits in the 11th, rallying them to an easy 11-4 victory in the series finale. Winners of three of four in the series, Detroit and Cleveland even up the season series at 8-8 on the year.
“It’s very disappointing,” Josh Tomlin said. “Guys fought back and tied the game and the guys that came in kept it close. I come in there and they blew it up on me.”
It was Tomlin that was summoned to the mound in the 11th for the first time since leaving the club on Paternity leave earlier this week.
The right-hander was anything but effective, serving up five earned runs on three hits through just 1/3 of an inning. Loading up the bases with one out, Detroit designated hitter Eugenio Suarez drove in two on a base-hit to left field. Then, Tribe killer Victor Martinez capped Tomlin’s night off with a three-run homer to the seats in right.
“He had fairly good numbers against just about everyone except [Ian] Kinsler,” manager Terry Francona said. Even Victor at 0-for-8, but at that point of the game you’re trying to matchup the best you can.”
“Everything was up that they hit,” Tomlin said. “The pitch to Victor I just didn’t get in enough. My job is to go out there and get outs and he put me in there to get outs and I didn’t do it.”
Having been moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen since August 8, the 29 year-old has struggled in his new role, but notes it hasn’t affected him.
“It hasn’t been difficult at all,” Tomlin said. “They let me know after the inning is over that I get the ball and I get my warm-up tosses in just like I would if I was starting. It’s not really a big transition for me. It’s just one of those nights that they beat me.”
Over his last three relief appearances, he has allowed seven earned runs on 10 hits through just 3 1/3 innings.
Down 4-0 early, Cleveland hitters chipped away throughout the ballgame to eventually knot the game up in the seventh. Yan Gomes plated the first two Indians runs on the night against Tigers ace Max Scherzer, first on a sacrifice fly in the fourth and then on an RBI groundout in the sixth.
“We were down 4-0 before we even took a deep breath, and then you have Scherzer on the mound,” Francona said. “But we battled back so hard to tie that game. Everybody did such a good job to keep giving us a chance. You’re playing to try and give up none and you end up giving up seven. That obviously hurts.”
Scherzer gave up three runs (two earned) on just four hits through six innings against the Tribe offense. It was a horrendous first inning from Wahoos starter Trevor Bauer that made Cleveland hitters work hard early.
Struggling at the beginning of games all season, Bauer surrendered four first inning runs to Detroit, and then shut them down over his final next 4 1/3 innings.
“You can’t get into deficits like that,” Francona said. “He worked behind in the count the first time and a half through the order. Now the second time and a half he worked ahead and his results were drastically different.
It’s almost been night and day for the 23 year-old Bauer when it comes to early inning struggles. In the first inning this season, he owns a 6.55 ERA. Over the rest of the game, he’s posted a 3.59 ERA.
“I just think that he finds his rhythm and sometimes it takes awhile,” Francona said. “He’s a stubborn kid and he’s come a long way. You’re not always going to get it all in one jump.”
“It’s one of those things that happens,” Bauer said. “It just didn’t go my way today. I’m not going to lie to you and say it isn’t tough. We had a chance to win the game and to have it end especially like that, it stings a little bit. If there’s any silver lining tonight it’s the offense battled back and got us back in it.”
Cleveland (71-67) slips to five games behind Detroit for the second wild card seed in the American League.
Even after a tough loss, Tomlin and the team have one thing on their mind.
“Win the next one. Worry about coming in tomorrow and taking care of that tomorrow. Don’t let this one fester into something that could potentially put us out of the race.”
Up next for Indians: The Tribe welcomes division foe Chicago into town to open up a three-game weekend series with the White Sox. It will be a matchup of southpaws Friday night as T.J. House (2-3, 3.92 ERA) squares off against ChiSox ace Chris Sale (11-3, 2.11 ERA) at 7:05 p.m.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at email@example.com.
Tomlin looks like Salazar last year. Nothing but flat fastballs over the plate. 18 hrs in a little over 100 innings is scary!
It's amazing this lineup is still over 500 this late in year. As we discussed yesterday a major overhaul is needed
Why on earth is Gomes behind kipnis????? Helloooo Tito!!!
As for the performance of Tomlin, I wondered why Francona went to him so early. Why not go back to Atchison for another inning? Yes, he got in some trouble the previous inning, but he worked out of it and only threw 20 pitches. What about going to Crockett or Rzepczynski? Both of those guys have made a combined one appearance this month. Now, if you have to go to Tomlin in the 13th or 14th inning, then fine.....but I thought Francona mismanaged that decision last night (He's done an overly excellent job all year at handling the pitchers.....the lineup is another thing entirely lol).
Tomlin is looking like a guy who will stick around next year but as starting depth in AAA only. The Indians will need 7-8 starters and he and McAlister right now both have options and both could open in Columbus as depth. In fact, if everyone is healthy, that is exactly what will happen. There is no need to have Tomlin in the bullpen. His value is as a depth starter only.
But props to this team for battling back when it was 4-0 in the first. I felt by coming back that had they won the game it would be a signature win for them considering how they came back from the blown save with two wins and split the series. But now this might be a signature loss. They are not mathematically out of it, but you can't lose 3 of 4 to the team you are chasing this late in the season. This series hurt. As GSon correctly noted, the Indians no longer can focus on just winning series....they have to start sweeping teams. They almost need an 19-5 or better stretch to end the season to have any shot and even that might not be enough.
Bauer couldn't avoid or mitigate the big inning.. created the hole the Tribe had to dig out of..
The Pen was spectacular....until Tomlin came in a peed on the rug..
Two dozen games remaining.. five games to make up in the standings... four teams in front of the wounded Wahoos.... one more W from this series would have been huge.. Relying on other teams sucks..
Onto the Pale Hose... Winning a series is no longer an option for these guys.. While the Indians don't have to win every game it's getting uncomfortably closer to that...
Indians should have split this series, losing both close games really hurts. Still, I'm sure most on here would have taken a 4-3 record (hoping they close out the last KC game) before the KC/DET week began. Tigers have some tough series coming up, Indians look to have an easier schedule, but they need to play .750-.800 ball from now on to have a shot.