CLEVELAND – Knowing the drastic changes of Ohio weather is a prerequisite to joining the Cleveland Indians.
On Saturday, a 47-degree afternoon with 18-mph winds blowing in from center field, the Tribe could only muster six hits of offense, three of which came in the first inning as part of a tightly contested pitcher’s duel.
On Sunday, a 76-degree afternoon with 15-mph winds blowing out to center field, the home nine hung 12 runs on the scoreboard as part of a 12-4 rout of the Seattle Mariners at Progressive Field.
Josh Tomlin recorded his second win in his last three starts in a game that was defined by one inning.
Progressive Field playing small
After Francisco Lindor launched a solo home run in the first, the Indians were able to notch an eight-run third, their highest total in an inning since May 27, 2015 vs. Texas.
“On a day like today, where you know the ballpark’s playing pretty small and you got a couple flyball pitchers pitching,” said manager Terry Francona about the multitude of scoring. “We took advantage. We swung the bats. We ran the bases. We were aggressive and we kept the line moving.”
The Tribe tallied six hits, including RBI singles from Jason Kipnis and Roberto Perez, a two-run double from Lindor, an RBI triple from Abraham Almonte and a two-run blast from Michael Brantley.
“It builds confidence,” Lindor said. “We needed something like that, that way the guys can bounce back, start feeling good, all of it. Especially coming up playing a good team this series. The guys need that. We need that boost of confidence.”
Chase De Jong and Casey Fien, Seattle’s two pitchers in the inning, surrendered two walks, allowed one stolen base to Kipnis and gave up a sacrifice fly to Lonnie Chisenhall on a popup to shallow right field.
“If a guy gets a base hit, he’s happy, he’s looking in the dugout, guys are doing signs with him,” said Lindor. “You’re having fun, you’re enjoying the game and that’s what it’s all about.”
Tomlin earns win despite giving up four runs
The favorable hitting conditions boded well for the Mariners in the sixth inning courtesy of six consecutive hits from the top of manager Scott Servais’ lineup.
With Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager all registering an RBI single to cut the deficit to 9-4, Francona decided to swap out Tomlin for Nick Goody in a bases-loaded situation with no outs.
“[Goody] did a really good job,” Francona said. “I think there’s certain types of hitters that we would like him to face.”
The right-handed reliever struck out Taylor Motter and induced a 6-4 double play on Carlos Ruiz to escape the matter unscathed.
“Those are the situations you want to go in as a reliever,” said Goody. “Anytime you can go out and do your job and do it the right way.”
Tomlin set the tone in the early stages of the contest and only allowed a solo home run to Cruz through the first four frames to finish with a final line of 5+ IP, 8 H, 4 R/ER, 1 BB, 3 K (86 pitches, 54 strikes, 62.8%, seven groundouts, zero flyouts).
“You still want to make quality pitches in there,” Tomlin said. “You don’t want to create a big inning and let them have that little sense of momentum going into the next inning or next at-bat.
Adding on to a sizeable advantage
With the game likely out of reach for the road nine, Cleveland continued to expand its lead thanks to Almonte’s RBI single and Perez’s two-run double off Dillon Overton.
“That was good to see [Perez] get going,” said Francona. “Abe’s been having good at-bats the whole time. Sometimes you get a chance with runners on and it’s nice to see them come through.”
In the midst of the three insurance runs were four hitless innings of relief by Goody, Bryan Shaw and Zach McAllister.
Central Division update
Detroit (12-12) prevented a series sweep by registering 14 hits to oust the surging White Sox (13-10) by a score of 7-3.
The Indians and Tigers open a four-game set to start the week on Monday at Comerica Park in Detroit, Mich.
RHP Trevor Bauer (2-2, 6.26) is scheduled for his second outing against Detroit this year after allowing six runs on eight hits in five innings on April 14.
LHP Daniel Norris (1-2, 4.71) will also be making his second appearance in the season series in hopes that he can replicate his six shutout innings opposite Bauer and the Tribe.