A rough outing for Josh Tomlin didn’t stop the Tribe Saturday afternoon in Baltimore as the Indians ran up the score against Dana Eveland and the Orioles, 11-5. The offensive explosion put Cleveland back over .500 (39-38) and cut the White Sox’ division lead to just 2.5 games.
The Indians’ offense hit the ground running. Shin-Soo Choo turned Eveland’s first pitch of the game into a leadoff base hit and came home on Jose Lopez‘ RBI single later in the inning. Choo then took Eveland yard in the second inning for a solo home run to give Cleveland a quick 2-0 lead.
Brian Roberts‘ sacrifice fly in the third put the Orioles on the board, but the Indians were quick to respond. Asdrubal Cabrera and Lopez’ RBI singles sandwiched a Jason Kipnis run-scoring groundout as the Tribe added three more runs in the fourth and knocked Eveland out of the game. Even after Tomlin gave up a three-run bomb to Matt Wieters in the bottom of the inning, the Tribe’s lead was still secure.
The rampage continued in the middle innings. Choo drove in Marson with an RBI single in the fifth before coming home himself on Cabrera’s double; Lopez capped the rally with an RBI hit to score Cabrera. Shelley Duncan then took Tommy Hunter yard to lead off the sixth and Choo came through with another RBI single to give Cleveland a commanding 10-4 lead.
Lou Marson‘s bases-loaded single in the ninth gave Cleveland another insurance run, but it wasn’t necessary: the Orioles added a run in the sixth but the Tribe’s bullpen shut their bats down from there as the Indians cruised to a 11-5 blowout.
The Good: This should be pretty obvious. The Indians combined to score 11 runs on 19 hits, including two home runs. Add in walks and hit by pitches and they got 26 men on base. That’s insane, and it’s coming from a team whose offense had looked anemic for most of the past fortnight.
Individually, Jose Lopez, who went 5-for-6 with three RBI. Shin-Soo Choo went 4-for-5 with a home run, a walk, four runs, and three RBI. Lou Marson went 4-for-5 with a double, a triple, a walk, and three runs scored. Asdrubal Cabrera (3-for-5) and Michael Brantley (2-for-5) also enjoyed multi-hit games.
The Bad: ’Twas another rough outing for Josh Tomlin. The Orioles knocked him around for five runs (all earned) on seven hits as he allowed an uncharacteristic three walks and struck out four. The outing raised his 2012 ERA to 5.85.
It’s always hard to be the guy who doesn’t contribute to a blowout like this, and three Cleveland hitters went hitless Saturday. Jason Kipnis and Casey Kotchman combined to go 0-for-9, but each reached base via the beanball and Kipnis drew a walk too. Poor Aaron Cunningham went 0-for-6 with nothing notable in his line save for a pair of strikeouts.
The “Huh?”: Josh Tomlin gave up five runs in six innings Saturday. In a vacuum, it’s clear that he did not do very well at his task of giving his team a chance to win—even if you take it as a given that the bullpen would shut down the Orioles from there, it would take an above-average performance for the offense to stay in the game. Yet Tomlin walked off the mound with the big W. And people still judge pitchers by win-loss records?
Interesting Tidbit: Jose Lopez’ five-hit performance set a new career high. It was also the first time he’d knocked more than three hits in a game since last May and just the second time in four years.