Baseball / Sports

Indians' Josh Tomlin outstanding in return to rotation

CLEVELAND -- Josh Tomlin made a triumphant return to the Indians' rotation Tuesday night, not only helping to snap a two-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory, but also earning his first major-league win in nearly two years.

In his first big-league start since undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery and enduring the ensuing recovery that cost the right-hander nearly all of the 2013 season, Tomlin limited the visiting Minnesota Twins to a run on four hits and a walk in 6 2/3 solid innings.

Tomlin's teammates welcomed him back by giving him an early cushion -- a rarity during the Indians' recent lean offensive days. After Tomlin needed just 13 pitches to sit down the Twins in order to start the game, the offense rewarded him with two runs in the first inning and then two more in the second against Twins starting pitcher Samuel Deduno.

Nick Swisher sparked the offense in the bottom of the first inning with a double off the center-field wall that snapped his 0-for-11 skid. Michael Brantley followed with a run-scoring single to give the Indians a 1-0 lead. An error on first baseman Chris Colabello -- a ball right under his outstretched glove near the bag -- allowed Brantley to score and make it 2-0.

The Indians went right back after Deduno in the second inning when Lonnie Chisenhall led off the inning with a single, then advanced to second base on a balk. Yan Gomes followed with a sharp double right up the middle that might have decapitated Deduno had he not ducked, and Swisher continued his offensive momentum with a two-out single that drove in Gomes and pushed the lead to 4-0.

Deduno, a reliever making his first start of the season in place of the injured Mike Pelfrey (on the disabled list with a groin injury) finally began to settle down and kept the Indians scoreless for the next three innings. Deduno finished his five-inning outing allowing the four runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks, striking out two.

But the strike-throwing Tomlin kept the Twins' offense in check through six innings before Colabello made up for the run he allowed with a solo home run that broke up Tomlin's shutout bid.

But even with setup man Cody Allen and struggling closer John Axford unavailable to pitch Tuesday after being heavily used recently, relievers Marc Rzep´┐Żczynski, Scott Atchison and Bryan Shaw preserved Tomlin's much-deserved victory.

Shaw yielded an unearned run in the ninth to earn his first save of the season.

(c)2014 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

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