Lamb on tough loss: 'I couldn't slow it down'

Starter yields career-high seven earned runs, 10 hits vs. Cleveland

Lamb on tough loss: 'I couldn't slow it down'

CLEVELAND -- The Indians entered Monday ranked 30th out of 30 clubs with a .218 team average batting right-handed. Eight of the nine Cleveland hitters in the starting lineup vs. Reds left-hander John Lamb were either righties or switch-hitters.

Instead of having his way, Lamb was instead roughed up by the righty-heavy opposition during a 15-6 loss. Irking him quite a bit was that he blew the 4-0 lead his own lineup provided him.

"To me, four runs is enough -- as a starting pitcher -- for me to keep my team in the ballgame and go out there and help win a ballgame," Lamb said. "That's what I'll go home tonight and sleep on -- just the fact I should have done a better job of keeping us in the game."

Lamb gave up a career-high seven earned runs and 10 hits as Cleveland zoomed ahead with four runs in the third inning and three more in the fourth. There were no crushing homers, but rather nine hits over those two innings -- including seven singles.

"It seemed to be a little snowball effect there. I couldn't slow it down and keep us ahead," Lamb said.

In the first inning, Lamb gave up one hit but kept Cleveland scoreless with 10 of his 12 pitches going for strikes. A leadoff walk in the second was erased with an inning-ending double play. Then, everything turned.

Although a couple of defensive plays weren't made, including center fielder Jose Peraza not tracking a Francisco Lindor drive that landed near the wall for a two-run double, Lamb was also not helping himself as he missed with location.

"A lot of times he was going in with his fastball that was running out over the plate," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "They made him bring it to the middle of the plate, and when he did, they hit it good."

Lamb also lacked command of his secondary pitches.

"I don't think I got one swing on my changeup that I can remember," he said. "My curveball, I didn't get a swing and didn't throw it for a strike. That's where I'm a little bit frustrated with my execution."

Lamb came in slightly better vs. righties (.279 average) than lefties (.296), but none of that would matter.

While the bullpen also played its part in the loss, as the pitching staff allowed a season-high 19 hits, Lamb had his chance to hold the Indians back himself and couldn't do it.

"Offensively, I think we scored enough runs to win a ballgame," said Lamb, who has a 5.79 ERA through three starts since returning from back surgery rehab. "Collectively speaking for pitchers, I don't think any of us are going out there intending to have nights like tonight."

The Reds had pushed Lamb's spot in the rotation back a couple of days, as he dealt with a sore left thumb after being jammed by a pitch hitting on May 8. Both Price and Lamb said the thumb was not a factor.

"Not at all," Lamb said. "Nothing physically disabling me from doing what I feel I'm capable of doing."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.