Sheldon Ocker

MESA, ARIZ.: It was another Indians loss, the sixth in a row, pushing the Tribe’s record top 6-17, worst in the Cactus League.

Does it matter that the Cubs prevailed 2-0? Exhibition games don’t count. So maybe more important for the club was the performance of Josh Tomlin, who gave up two runs and nine hits in 5‚ innings, walking one and striking out six.

Tomlin was pitching a shutout until the sixth, when he allowed both runs on four hits. He pitched out of jams twice, giving up a leadoff double in the second and a leadoff triple in the fifth without yielding a run.

“He had a very good curveball today,’’ manager Manny Acta said. “He’s not overpowering, so he needs his other pitches to pitch effectively.’’

Acta pulled Tomlin in the sixth, because he had thrown 86 pitches and three other pitchers needed to get their work in.

Rafael Perez relieved Tomlin and got the last out of the sixth on a strikeout. Frank Herrmann threw a scoreless seventh, striking out one, and Dan Wheeler, battling for the seventh spot in the bullpen, pitched the eighth, giving up a hit and striking out one.

The Tribe amassed only five hits, with Jason Kipnis being the only batter to get two hits, one a double.

Precautionary

Michael Brantley returned to the lineup Tuesday after nursing a hamstring injury for a week. He did not play Wednesday, though not because he suffered a setback.

“We’re giving him the day off today,” Acta said, “but he’ll play seven innings tomorrow.”

The unkindest cut

Middle infielder Cristian Guzman was released, and outfielder Fred Lewis was reassigned to the minor-league camp but probably will become a free agent.

“It’s very hard to come to camp to make a club and get hurt the last 10-15 days,” Acta said.

Both players were nursing minor injuries and hadn’t played in recent days. However, neither player had only the slimmest of chances to make the 25-man roster.

Forty-one players remain in big-league camp.

Minor league cuts

Seven minor-leaguers were released: right-handers Josh McKeon, Will Krasne, Nick Sarianides, and Drew Rucinski, plus outfielder Brian Heere and infielders Chase Burnette and Chin-lung Hu.

Marching onward

The Indians will split their squad today to play the Rockies in Goodyear and the Diamondbacks in Scottsdale.

Derek Lowe will start against Colorado’s Juan Nicasio, and David Huff will start against Tyler Skaggs of Arizona, with Jeremy Accardo, Chris Ray, Tony Sipp and Joe Smith.

Sheldon Ocker can be reached at socker@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Indians blog at https://ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.