CLEVELAND -- It has been several years and several teams since Drew Pomeranz was traded away by the Indians. On Monday, the left-hander finally made his first start against his old club and helped the Red Sox notch a 3-2 victory at Progressive Field.
Backed by a pair of home runs -- including the 530th shot of David Ortiz's career -- Pomeranz spun a career-high 7 2/3 solid innings, scattering five hits. Cleveland's only breakthroughs came courtesy of Rajai Davis, who belted a home run and contributed an RBI double in the loss. Pomeranz ended the afternoon with six strikeouts and two walks.
"This is a big win," Boston manager John Farrell said. "To nail down that 3-2 win in here against a team that was playing very good. It started with Drew Pomeranz, but again, this was a big win."
The loss went to Tribe righty Josh Tomlin, who held Boston off the scoreboard for five innings before surrendering homers to Ortiz and Jackie Bradley Jr. in the sixth. Tomlin was charged with three runs on seven hits in 7 2/3 innings.
"I've pitched against them before," said Pomeranz. "I like pitching here, it's a good ballpark, a good tall mound. I'm pretty sure I'm going to face all my old teams this year. I think I'm still lined up for two more the rest of the year."
The Indians put their first two runners aboard in the ninth, but Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel held on for his 20th save.
Boston's one-day trip to Cleveland was a makeup of the teams' April 7 postponement.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Big Papi send-off: Ortiz hit a go-ahead homer in the sixth in his final regular-season game in Cleveland. With one on and one away, Ortiz blasted the first pitch he saw from Tomlin over the wall in right. The ball was estimated by Statcast™ to land 442 feet away -- tying his longest-hit home run of the season -- with an exit velocity of 106 mph. The homer moved Ortiz up to 1,733 career RBIs, which ties Honus Wagner for 22nd all-time.
Baseball has a longstanding history of disputes over numbers, and the career RBI leaderboard is one of them. Due to the uncertain nature of record keeping in the early part of the 20th century, there are some discrepancies regarding Wagner's overall numbers. According to Elias, Wagner's career RBI total is 1,733. The various sources used to comprise MLB.com's entire database, which lists Wagner with 1,732 career RBIs, reflects alternative and also credible points of view.
"He's got good stuff," Ortiz said. "That was probably the one mistake he made in the whole game. Which when I have a pitcher on the mound performing like that, I'll take it anytime. That tells you how good of a ballclub they have, because he's their fifth starter." More >
Perfect no more: Pomeranz breezed through the Tribe's lineup the first time through without a blemish. Davis ended the lefty's perfect run at nine batters in the fourth, when the veteran drilled a pitch to dead center for a leadoff home run. The shot was Davis' 11th of the year and gave Cleveland a short-lived, 1-0, lead.
"He had a curveball, a good fastball," Davis said of Pomeranz. "That can make it tough. It seems like he controls his curveball pretty good -- when you throw it for strikeout pitches or just throw it in there for strikes. And he has a fastball that he's able to locate."
Bradley's blast: Bradley tacked on an insurance run later in the sixth with a solo shot to right-center. According to Statcast™, the ball landed 412 feet away and had an exit velocity of 105 mph, to give the Red Sox a 3-1 advantage. For Bradley, it was his second home run in as many days. Prior to Monday's blast, Bradley hadn't homered since a road game against the Angels on July 29. He has now hit safely in his last seven games against the Indians.
"Looks like he's turning the corner and getting back into a good swing," Farrell said. "Tomlin is a guy that you are going to have to beat him. He's not going to walk people, but we were able to get a couple pitches up in the strike zone that proved to be the difference."
Homer prone: The two shots surrendered by Tomlin on Monday upped his Major League-leading total to 29 homers allowed this season. In his first 15 starts, in which Tomlin went 9-1 with a 3.21 ERA, the righty gave up 19 homers, but 13 were of the solo variety. Lately, Tomlin has flinched with traffic on base. Of the 10 homers he has given up in his past seven starts, six have led to multiple runs.
"I'm trying to avoid the crooked number as much as I can," Tomlin said. "It just hasn't really happened in the past three or four starts or however [long] it's been. If I can limit the guys on base when those big guys come up in the lineup, it's going to benefit me and the team in the long run if there are more solo shots." More >
"He's got a big breaking ball. That's noticeable. But he's got enough velocity to get past your barrel. The breaking ball is not just big, but it's got a good tight spin to it. He can throw it for a strike. He can throw it for a strike-to-ball. It's kind of hard to pick both." -- Indians manager Terry Francona, on Pomeranz
"I am now. Yeah." --Tomlin, asked if he was happy Ortiz is retiring
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Pomeranz was selected fifth overall in the first round of the 2010 Draft by the Indians, but he was traded to the Rockies as a player to be named later to complete the July 30, 2011, trade that brought right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland. Since that five-player trade, Pomeranz has spent time with the Rockies, A's, Padres and Red Sox. He made the All-Star team for the first time this year, while with San Diego.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW Jose Ramirez stole second base in the fourth inning, giving him 19 on the season and eight in his past eight games for the Tribe. Not long after that successful sprint, Ramirez tried for steal No. 20. He went for third and slid into the bag as the throw arrived from catcher Bryan Holaday. Third baseman Aaron Hill applied the tag for the out, but Cleveland challenged the ruling. After a review lasting four minutes and 20 seconds, the out call was confirmed.
WHAT'S NEXT Red Sox: Boston will continue its 11-game road trip in four different cities with a two-game set starting Tuesday in Baltimore. Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (2-5, 5.43 ERA) is slated to start for the Red Sox at 7:05 p.m. ET. Rodriguez has posted a 2.80 ERA in 35 1/3 frames over his last six turns since being called up on July 15.
Indians: Right-hander Corey Kluber (12-8, 3.21 ERA) will take the ball at 7:10 p.m. on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game set against the White Sox at Progressive Field. Kluber has been quietly working his way back into the Cy Young Award discussion. Over his past six turns, the righty is 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 43 innings.