Reporting Matt Loede
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – On the bright side, Indians starter Josh Tomlin wasn’t all that bad.
On the bad side, it took the Indians offense all the way till the 9th to find themselves, and by then it was too late.
The Indians offense came up a run short, as they lost their third straight to the Orioles 4-3 Sunday afternoon.
The 9th inning started with an out, and then Michael Brantley singled, and then Carlos Santana homered to right to make it a 4-2 game.
It was the 7th homer of the year for Santana, and his 35th and 36th RBI’s. Shelley Duncan then doubled as the O’s went to All-Star closer Jim Johnson.
Travis Hafner had a pinch-hit single to make it a 4-3 game. Johnny Damon flew out for the second out, and then Shin-Soo Choo walked.
Asdrubal Cabrera struck out to end the game. Johnson earned his 30th save of the year.
The loss is the 4th in a row for the Indians, and with the Tigers win and sweep of Detroit, they now trail the Kitties by 4.5 in the AL Central.
The loss also puts the Indians under .500 for the first time since April 4th when they started the season 1-4 after a tough first homestand.
Cleveland had scored 32 runs in the previous four-game series vs the O’s back on June 28th to July 1st, winning three of four that series.
In this series after three games they have scored six runs, five of the six coming on homers.
Since the All-Star break in which they are 3-7, the offense has limped to 31 runs, an average of 3.1 runs per game. Don’t forget they scored 19 of those 31 runs in two games, meaning it’s been 12 runs in 8 games (1.5 runs per game).
Tomlin gave the Indians a fighting chance, as he gave up a two-run homer by J.J. Hardy in the first inning, but didn’t allow another Orioles runner to cross home plate.
He went six innings, allowing the two runs on 8 hits with no walks and two strikeouts. He falls to 5-7 on the year, and his ERA actually improved a few points to 5.34.
The Tribe offense did nothing to help him until the 9th, as they went 16 innings between Saturday and Sunday without scoring a run.
Lefty Zach Britton shut down the Indians to the tune of no runs on four hits over six innings. He improves his mark to 1-0 on the year.
The Indians best chance to score before their 3 runs came in the 5th, when Choo walked, and Cabrera hit into a fielder’s choice.
Jason Kipnis singled, and then Jose Lopez hit into another fielder’s choice. With two outs, Brantley walked to load the bases.
Santana, who had three hits on the day, was caught looking at strike three on a questionable call by home plate ump Vic Carapazza to end the inning.
Indians relief pitchers Esmail Rogers and Jeremy Accardo each allowed the O’s insurance runs in the 7th and 8th. Hardy had a RBI single in the 7th and in the 8th Wilson Betemit hit his 11th homer to make it 4-0.
Monday the series wraps up at 7:05pm as Justin Masterson (6-8) goes for the Indians against Tommy Hunter (4-4) for the Orioles.