CLEVELAND: Indians starter Josh Tomlin entered Monday’s game a perfect 7-0 this season. The Texas Rangers made sure he left with a loss and then some as they pounded the Indians 9-2.
The Rangers scored nine runs in the first four innings that included Tomlin getting knocked around for the first time this season, reliever Austin Adams giving up a monster home run and Indians manager Terry Francona being ejected.
The Rangers (30-21) started early. Jurickson Profar led off the game with a single and was followed by Ian Desmond, who belted a two-run home run to the bleacher seats to put the Rangers up 2-0 two batters into the game.
The Rangers tacked on a third run in the second inning on Bryan Holaday’s sacrifice fly to center field.
The third inning was Francona’s last. With runners on the corners and two outs, Mitch Moreland grounded a ball along the first-base line. Tomlin fielded it, but his throw hit Moreland. A run scored and all runners were safe, prompting Francona to argue that Moreland was inside the baseline and should have been called out to end the inning.
Francona was eventually ejected by home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez and came out of the dugout a second time. Elvis Andrus, the next batter, then singled home another run to left field to make it 5-0.
“I don’t know what [the umpire] saw,” Francona said. “I didn’t get a very good explanation. I couldn’t get any explanation. … When I went out the second time after he threw me out, he wouldn’t talk to me. I’m still waiting.”
Tomlin didn’t escape the fourth. Prince Fielder extended the Rangers’ lead to 6-0 with a single and Juan Uribe then committed two errors on one play to end Tomlin’s day.
Adams entered, and Rangers rookie Nomar Mazara crushed a three-run home run that cleared the first row of trees behind the center field wall to put the game out of reach.
Tomlin finished with nine hits and eight runs allowed (four earned), no walks and one strikeout, raising his ERA to 3.79.
“I just didn’t execute the pitches when I needed to execute them today and put our team in a bad spot early on,” Tomlin said. “They just kept building on that first inning and I didn’t limit the damage enough, and once they kind of tasted blood, they just kept piling it on.”
The Indians’ scoring came on two home runs. Mike Napoli hit his team-leading 11th of the season in the sixth off Rangers starter Derek Holland, and Marlon Byrd (4-for-4) hit his fifth of the year in the seventh off Cesar Ramos.
A rare bright spot for the Indians (26-23) on Monday night was left-handed pitcher Ryan Merritt, who made his major-league debut after a week of sitting in the bullpen. Merritt was called up last Monday prior to the team’s doubleheader in Chicago but couldn’t get into a game. He finally did against the Rangers and pitched 4? scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out two.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RyanLewisABJ