Tomlin sharp before exiting game with cramp

Righty strikes out 6 in 5 innings before right hamstring ends victorious season debut

Tomlin sharp before exiting game with cramp

CLEVELAND -- It had been more than two weeks since Josh Tomlin started a game for the Indians. Leading up to his outing on Saturday afternoon, the pitcher was dealing with a mix of adrenaline and nerves, and he found himself out on the field warming up earlier than usual.

"I was a little early out there," Tomlin said after the Indians' 7-5 victory over the Mets, "from the anxiety of wanting to pitch."

Those nerves might have played a role in the leadoff home run Tomlin allowed to Curtis Granderson in the first inning or, perhaps, even his early exit due to cramping in his right hamstring. The right-hander was feeling fine after his five-inning appearance, but he was dealing with tightness in his legs for a couple of innings before it became too much to bear before the top of the sixth inning.

With Cleveland holding a 2-1 lead, Tomlin headed out to the hill for the sixth and threw one warmup pitch before calling it quits. He grabbed at the back of his right leg and, following a brief meeting with a team trainer and Indians manager Terry Francona, the pitcher left the game and headed to the clubhouse.

"I don't know if it was just the adrenaline of not pitching for that long," Tomlin said, "but my hamstring kept grabbing at me. I knew it wasn't anything serious like a pull. It was just cramping up on me when I followed through. That last inning when I went out there, it grabbed at me and stayed there. It wouldn't really release."

Tomlin allowed one run on four hits, ending with six strikeouts and no walks before exiting. The righty's third pitch of the afternoon was sent into the right-field stands, but Tomlin settled in after that and earned the victory.

Tomlin's strong start

"Tomlin, leadoff home run, and then [he] holds it right where it's supposed to be," Francona said, "and gives us a chance. ... He was cramping up from about the third inning on, so he did a great job."

Tomlin was named the fifth starter this spring, which ended with a brilliant outing on March 29 against the Mariners. In that final tuneup for the regular season, Tomlin pieced together six scoreless innings in which he struck out 10 and walked none. It marked his last start before Saturday.

Tomlin laughed when asked if he plans on sticking with the 18-day routine.

"I hope not," he replied. "But you never know."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.