CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The first two runs Josh Tomlin surrendered on Saturday came on an infield single that barely traveled 90 feet.
The next four runs the right-handed hurler allowed came on balls hit much further than that.
Tomlin gave up six runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings of work, allowing three more homers in the process, as the Indians fell to the Toronto Blue Jays in game two of the three-game set, 6-5.
The rough start for the veteran righty came in his first game back with the team after dealing with a serious family matter in Texas. However, Tomlin didn’t make any excuses for his performance.
“There was no distraction,” he said. “When I step in between those lines, it’s time to play and its about baseball. When I’m on the mound, I don’t think of any other things in my life. I just try to go out there and compete and try to give this team a chance to win.”
Adding to the frustration of a poor outing was Tomlin’s inability to keep the Jays off the scoreboard following the Tribe’s five-run rally in the bottom of the fourth — punctuated by Lonnie Chisenhall’s three-run home run off Toronto starter Aaron Sanchez to tie the game.
Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion hit the second pitch Tomlin delivered in the top of the fifth roughly three-fourths of the way up the Progressive Field bleachers in left field, giving Toronto a lead they wouldn’t surrender a second time.
“They fought back and made it a game,” Tomlin said of his offense. “For them to get that much adrenaline, to get the momentum in your dugout and then the first guy you faced you give up a home run, it knocks everyone down a little bit and I understand that.
“Obviously, wasn’t trying to do that but I have to execute a pitch there and get the lead guy out. I just didn’t do it and it ended up costing us a game.”
Three of Tomlin’s past four starts have been less than ideal.
Over that stretch, the righty has allowed 23 runs in 20 2/3 frames (10.01 ERA), and it’s been Tomlin’s inability to limit the long ball damage that has been most noticeable.
Encarnacion, Russell Martin and Melvin Upton Jr. each clubbed round-trippers on Saturday night. Upton’s homer, his 18th of the season, was a two-run shot.
Tomlin will always be susceptible to giving up homers, but the multi-run bombs continue to be knockout blows. He has allowed seven home runs over his past four starts and has now given up 32 total round-trippers this season.
As for any reason for the recent struggles, Tomlin is still searching.
“There is a little bit more traffic on the bases but I’m just not executing the pitches when I need to,” he said. “That’s basically it. My stuff feels good, my arm feels good, my body feels good. It’s just getting back to work tomorrow and try to figure something out and go from there.”