Josh Tomlin had nothing on the ball and the Indians got completely shut out Friday night as the Twins routed the Tribe, 11-0, to open a three-games in Minnesota. The loss drops Cleveland back to .500 (50-50) and increases their deficit to 4.5 games behind the division-leading White Sox.
It was clear from the start that the game was not going to go well for Cleveland. After the Indians went down 1-2-3 in the top of the first, Denard Span led off the bottom of the inning with a single before Joe Mauer‘s base hit put runners at the corners. With two on and two outs, Justin Morneau blasted Tomlin’s 0-1 pitch for a bomb into the right field stands that put the Twins up 3-0.
Tomlin settled down after the rough first and even got out of a mini-jam in the second, but it wouldn’t last long. With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Alexi Casilla and Span reached with back-to-back base hits. Both runners advanced on a double steal before scoring on Ben Revere and Mauer’s RBI singles. Josh Willingham capped the rally with a three-run homer to make it an 8-0 game.
The Twins rallied for three more runs in the sixth as Mauer, Willingham, and Ryan Doumit delivered with RBI singles, but by then the game was well out of reach. Minnesota starter Scott Diamond took a perfect game into the third inning and ended up with a three-hit shutout as the Twinkies obliterated the Tribe, 11-0.
The Bad: Let’s start with Josh Tomlin. He’s been going through a rough stretch lately, but this was a whole new level of struggling. He got rocked for eight runs (all earned) on 10 hits (including two home runs) in four innings while getting only two strikeouts. At least, true to form, he didn’t allow a walk.
Then there’s the offense. The Indians got shut out by a pitcher with a career strikeout rate of under 5.0 K/9. And it wasn’t as though they had opportunities that they didn’t cash in on—they managed only three hits against Scott Diamond, and they didn’t work a single walk. This team is going to have to learn how to hit left-handed pitching if they want to contend.
The “Huh?”: Seriously, 11-0? (That’s all I’ve got right now.)
Interesting Tidbit: The eight runs Josh Tomlin allowed Friday night represent a new personal worst. He’d never before given up more than six runs in a game.