Tomlin Lifts Tribe to Victory over Cardinals
Josh Tomlin held the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals scoreless through six innings on Friday night before finally surrendering two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning on the way to a 6-2 Cleveland Indians victory. Tomlin improved to 3-3 on the season with the win, and pitched very strong after coming off two shaky outings since returning from the disabled list from a wrist injury that kept him sidelined for much of May. The Indians’ offense beat up on Jake Westbrook, who pitched for the Tribe not so long ago, and sent the right hander to the showers after six innings of work in which he surrendered four runs on eight hits, walked one and struck out seven.
The win was a much needed one for the Indians after taking two out of three from Detroit earlier in the week and closing the gap between them and the Chicago White Sox in the Central Division. The Indians now improve to 13-5 against the Cardinals all time in interleague play. Tomlin also had hit in the ballgame, a single in the top of the sixth inning that moved third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall to third to give the Tribe two men on with just one out. Nothing came of the threat though as Shin-Soo Choo struck out swinging and Asdrubal Cabrera grounded out to second. The hit continued a hot streak for Tomlin though who had two hits last season in interleague play and has proven that he can swing the bat despite the lack of opportunity that he gets to do so in the regular season.
With the Tribe already up 4-0 in the top of the seventh, Johnny Damon put the game out of reach when he sent a two-run shot over the right field wall to put the team up 6-0. It was Damon’s second home run of the season and the left fielder is beginning to find his rhythm at the plate after struggling for the first month of play with the Indians. Damon missed out on Spring Training due to the fact that he was a free agent, but if he continues to improve at the plate there seems no doubt that the club will retain his services even after Grady Sizemore returns from a back injury that has kept him out of action all season.
The Indians will try to take the series on Saturday as they send Justin Masterson to the hill to battle Kyle Lohse. Both men have had up-and-down seasons, struggling at times and pitching masterfully at others. A win for the Tribe could put them back on top of the Central Division as they currently sit ½ games behind the White Sox who lost on Friday to the Houston Astros. The Cardinals currently sit in third place in the NL Central, three games behind Cincinnati and a game behind the Pirates who are in second. Saturday’s game will be broadcast nationally on the Fox network.
By Robert Gonzalez