Reporting Matt Loede
CINCINNATI (92.3 The Fan) – A road trip that started 4-2 for the Indians turned quickly sour over the past three days, ending with a thud Thursday in Cincinnati with a 12-5 loss.
The loss cemented three days of bad baseball for the Indians, as they were swept by their interstate rivals, who they will see again for three more games in Cleveland starting Monday.
The team also had to deal with the off the field drama of a back and forth shouting match between pitcher Derek Lowe and Reds manager Dusty Baker, but Thursday everyone on the field behaved.
The Indians were outscored 24-9 in the three losses, while the Reds pounded out 31 hits and five homers over the three games.
The most glaring stat were those put up by former Indian Brandon Phillips, who crushed Indians pitching in the three-game set. Phillips was 8-for-13 (.615) with 3 runs scored, 2 homers, and 7 RBI in the sweep.
The Indians pitching was a huge letdown after the starters threw so well over the weekend in St.Louis. The pen had their share of troubles in allowing the Reds to put games away on Tuesday and Wednesday, but Thursday it was over well before the bullpen came in.
That’s due in part to a bad outing by starter Josh Tomlin, who went just four innings, allowing six runs on 10 hits to fall to 3-4 on the year as his ERA went up to 5.56.
He was given a 2-0 lead in the first when Shin-Soo Choo hit the first of his two homers, and Asdrubal Cabrera doubled and eventually scored, but as quick as the Indians had the lead, the Reds got it back and more.
Tomlin allowed a pair of singles to start the first, and then got to 3-1 on Joey Votto, who clubbed a three-run homer to dead center for his 12th blast of 2012.
The 3-2 lead slowly increased as the Reds pushed one more across in the 3rd on a Phillips homer to deep left, and then Phillips again haunted his old club in the 4th.
Tomlin had two on when the team decided to walk Votto to get to Phillips. Bad move, as Phillips lined a single to right to score to more runs to make it 6-2 and drive Tomlin out of the game.
The Tribe got to 6-3 on Choo’s second HR of the day in the 5th, but Indians releiver Scott Barnes had his worst outing at the Major League level as the Reds put the game out of reach.
They peppered Barnes with five runs on five hits as he recorded just one out in the inning. Ryan Ludwick hit a two-run homer off Barnes, and a Phillips single and bases loaded walk pushed two more runs across to make it 11-3.
Esmil Rogers made his second appearance as an Indian for Barnes in the 5th, and he was able to get out of the inning. He did allow a Reds run in the 6th on a wild pitch to make it 12-3.
The Indians got two runs back in the 7th as Aaron Cunningham and Jose Lopez both hit into groundball outs that produced runs to make it a 12-5 final.
Lou Marson getting a day behind the plate was 3-for-4 to raise his average now up to .246.
The Indians now will come home for six games agianst two National League foes – the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Reds, before going back on another long trip – 10 games in 10 days to wrap up the month of June.
Cleveland falls to 32-30, while the Reds push their mark to 35-27.
Mike Leake got the start for the Reds, and he went 4.1 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits. Jose Arredondo got the win in relief for Cincy.
The Pirates are in town for the first of three on Friday night at Progressive Field. Justin Masterson will throw for the Indians at 7:05pm.