After flirting with a no-hitter last week in Seattle before settling for a career-best one-hitter, Indians starter Josh Tomlin struggled to even come close to repeating the feat Friday at a sold-out Progressive Field.
The right-hander held the Mariners to a fifth-inning Kyle Seager single in his last start on the road, but was tagged for five runs on 10 hits in just 5 2/3 innings in the Indians 7-1 loss to the Royals in front of the Tribe’s third sell out of the season.
"I didn't feel like I was fighting (control) that much," Tomlin said. "It's just I wanted to go in(side) a bit to try to get some guys off the cutter and I made a few mistakes.But I feel I made the right pitches for the most part.
Despite the double-digit hits, Tomlin kept the Royals in check by limiting the early damage to solo runs in the third and fifth innings. But in the sixth, he dished up a three-run home run to slugging third baseman Mike Moustakas - a blast into the right field bleachers that pushed the Royals advantage to five unanswered runs.
"When I gave up the big blow to Moustakas, it kind of took the wind out of us a little bit," Tomlin said.
Meanwhile, Kansas City phenom Yordano Ventura kept the Tribe’s batsmen tied up in straight jackets up until the ninth inning, when Michael Brantley broke up the shutout bid with a lead off homer to right field. Two batters later, a Jason Kipnis single sent Ventura to the showers with his complete-game bid snapped as well.
Asked why Ventura was so good, centerfielder Michael Bourn (who went 1-for-4 with a double) replied: "He throws a 100 (mph), first of all. But he also has a good change up and a good curveball. He’s a pitcher that you have to try to attack and get to early, before he settles in. We had a few chances, but for the most part, he was on tonight.”
For the first eight innings, the youngster dazzled as he effortlessly popped the ball into catcher Salvador Perez's mitt with pitches routinely in the upper 90’s – including several reaching triple digits.
Before the Tribe broke through in the ninth inning, the only threat they posed came in the fourth as they trailed just 1-0 and had runners at the corners with only one out. But Ventura promptly wiggled out of the jam by inducing Kipnis to hit into an inning-ending double play that halted the threat.
The Royals first two runs were sparked by an unfamiliar face in rookie second baseman Christian Colon, who only made his first career start after Omar Infante was a late scratch with lower back stiffness. Yet, Colon made the most of the opportunity by going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI.
Colon began his big night with a triple to left center field that notched his first big league hit, soon scoring on Lorenzo Cain's single to right field. The pair hooked up again in the fifth inning when Colon collected a one-out double and Cain once again drove him in – this time with a double of his own that pushed the Royals lead to 2-0.
But Moustakas’s two-out, full-count three-run homer ended Tomlin’s outing and all but put the game away by increasing the visitor’s lead to 5-0 in the sixth as Moustakas contiuned to feast on Tribe pitching. The homer was his ninth of the season and the fourth against the Indians.
Before his memorable night was over, Colon put his name in the Royals record book. He became only the second Kansas City rookie to collect three extra base hits in his first career start when he smacked a RBI double in the ninth inning off Tribe reliever John Axford that scored Moustakas. The former Tribe closer continued his struggles on the mound – regardless of the score – while the Royals piled on with two ninth-inning scores, but only one that was earned after third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall's throwing error.