Cardinals drop series opener to Indians
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Josh Tomlin wanted to talk about his hitting, not his pitching.
Tomlin scattered eight hits over seven innings, Johnny Damon hit a two-run homer and the Cleveland Indians beat St. Louis 6-2 Friday night to send the Cardinals to their seventh loss in 10 games.
In Tomlin's view, his sixth-inning single was more significant. He improved to 3 for 5 at the plate in his big league career.
"Being in the AL, we don't get to do this kind of stuff," he said. "I like being a part of the game both on the offensive and defensive side."
Tomlin has three of the four hits by Indians pitchers since the start of the 2011 season.
"If you're going to have to hit you might as well be a complete baseball player," Tomlin said. "You don't want to go out there and just give away at bats. You want to do as much as you can to help your team win in a situation like that."
Tomlin (3-3) pitched shutout ball into the seventh, when he allowed a two-run single to pinch-hitter Matt Adams. He threw just 76 pitches, improving to 4-0 in interleague play.
Tomlin was coming off his poorest outing this season, when he allowed five earned runs over six innings in a 7-4 loss to Minnesota on June 2.
"He was aggressive, attacking the zone early," Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. "He had a good curveball with depth and that helped him keep those guys off balance."
St. Louis managed just five hits over the first six innings.
"This is the first time I've faced him and he pitched well, he used every pitch," the Cardinals' Carlos Beltran said. "He did a good job."
Tomlin was pitching on five days' rest.
"The biggest key for me was being able to throw four different pitches for strikes," he said. "I tried to establish the inside of the plate and keep them off balance the best that I could."
Former Indians pitcher Jake Westbrook (4-6) gave up four runs -- three earned -- and eight hits in six innings. He struck out seven and walked one.
"They jumped on everything Jake left up in the zone and made him pay," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "Then we were in a rut, in a hole."
Johnny Damon hit a two-run homer and Michael Brantley extended his hitting streak to 16 games as the Indians won for the third time in their last four games.
Cleveland went ahead for good in the first when Asdrubal Cabrera and Jason Kipnis hit one-out singles, Carlos Santana followed with an RBI double off the left-field wall and Brantley hit an RBI groundout.
Casey Kotchman hit a run-scoring groundout in the fourth, and Kipnis singled in a run in the fifth to make it 4-0. Damon homered in the seventh off Maikel Cleto, Damon's second this season.
"It was a slider that was up," Damon said. "I was surprised that I hit it that far."
NOTES: Yadier Molina had three hits for St. Louis. ... RHP Joe Kelly will start for St. Louis on Sunday in place of LHP Jaime Garcia, who was placed on the 15-day DL Wednesday with a left shoulder strain. Kelly is 2-5 with a 2.86 ERA for the Cardinals' Triple-A farm club in Memphis. To make room on the roster, the Cardinals released pitcher Scott Linebrink. ... Cleveland's Lonnie Chisenhall broke out of an 0-for-12 slump with an infield single in the fourth. ... Kyle Lohse (5-1, 3.21) will face Cleveland Justin Masterson (2-5, 5.09) in the second game of the three-game set Saturday. ... Westbrook has allowed 24 earned runs in his last 31 innings. ... Cleveland has won 15 of 25 games on the road this season. ... Brantley has the longest active hitting streak in the AL and the longest for the Indians since his 19-game streak from Aug. 30 to Sept. 19, 2010.