CLEVELAND: 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 5⅔ innings as the Indians lost 7-1 to the Royals in front of Cleveland’s third sellout of the season.
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 homer to Mike Moustakas — a blast into the right-field bleachers that pushed the Royals’ advantage to five unanswered runs.
Meanwhile, Kansas City phenom Yordano Ventura shut down the Tribe’s lineup until the ninth inning when Michael Brantley broke up a shutout bid with a leadoff homer to right field. Two batters later, a Jason Kipnis single sent Ventura to the showers with his complete-game bid snapped as well.
For the first eight innings, Ventura dazzled, effortlessly popping the ball into catcher Salvador Perez’s mitt with pitches routinely in the upper 90s — including several reaching 100 mph.
Before the Indians broke through in the ninth inning, the only threat they posed came in the fourth inning, trailing 1-0 with runners at the corners and one out. But Ventura wiggled out of the jam by inducing Kipnis to hit into an inning-ending double play that halted the threat.
Rookie’s big night
The Royals got their first two runs from rookie second baseman Christian Colon, making 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 two 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’ two-out, full-count, three-run homer ended Tomlin’s outing and all but put the game away by increasing the visitors’ lead to 5-0 in the sixth. 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 Kansas City record books. 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 off reliever John Axford that scored Moustakas in the ninth inning. 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 an earned run.
Stephanie Storm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SStormABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/abj.sports.