Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Josh Tomlin, right, waits for Kansas City Royals' Mike Moustakas, left, to run the bases after Moustakas hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning of a baseball game on Friday, July 4, 2014, in Cleveland.
CLEVELAND — After a one-hit, no-walk, 11-strikeout complete game masterpiece last Saturday in Seattle, Josh Tomlin’s encore was off key.
The right-hander battled but gave up five runs in 5 2/3 innings as the Royals beat the Indians 7-1 before a sold out crowd of 39,020 at Progressive Field on Friday.
Tomlin had kept the damage manageable until the sixth inning. With two outs and runners at second and third, he had a full count on Mike Moustakas, but on the sixth pitch of the at-bat, Tomlin threw a cutter that caught too much of the plate and Moustakas drove it to right field for a three-run homer to make it 5-0 and end Tomlin’s night.
It is the third time over his last four starts that Tomlin (5-6) has allowed five earned runs. He gave up 10 hits and struck out six on 107 pitches.
"I thought he pitched better than his linescore," Terry Francona said. "The three-run homer kind of skews it a bit. Up to that point he gave up a couple of single runs and some base hits but he kept it manageable. A 2-0 score is not where we want to be but it gives you a fighting chance and then the home run spread it out."
Tomlin said he was trying to keep the cutter to Moustakas down and away. If it ended up being ball four, that would have brought up Christian Colon, who got his first two hits in the Majors earlier with a triple and double along with scoring the first two runs of the game.
"When the guy hits a three-run homer it is on the pitcher. I have to do a better job of limiting the damage and go to the next guy on deck," Tomlin said.
Moustakas coming up with a big hit against the Indians is nothing new. In seven games this season, he is 9 for 27 with two doubles, four home runs and 10 RBI. Of the four homers, three have been in Cleveland. In 27 games at Progressive Field, Moustakas has a .305 average (32 of 105) and 20 RBI.
Once again Yordano Ventura stymied the Indians. The right-hander, who allowed just a run on six hits with four strikeouts, was en route to a complete-game shutout until Michael Brantley led off the ninth with a homer to right on a 3-1 fastball.
Ventura, who is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA against the Indians, had nine pitches at 100 miles or more on Friday. Of his 88 fastballs, 68 were registered at 97 mph or more. Of the balls the Indians made contact with, most of them were line drives or fly balls. Brantley and Jason Kipnis each had two hits but Kipnis also ground into a double play to end the fourth with runners at the corners and the Tribe trailing 1-0.
Francona thought the Indians approach at the plate was good but they didn’t have much to show for it.
"He’s a pitcher you want to attack early and not let him settle in but for the most part he was on tonight. He kept us off balance," Michael Bourn said. "We hit some balls hard and at people. We have to keep fighting and know where we stand."
After winning 10 straight at home from mid-May to mid-June, the Indians have lost five of their last six and have dropped nine straight in the division.