Activated Saturday, righty not making excuses after allowing 3 homers to Blue Jays
By Shane Jackson
CLEVELAND -- Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin has a few different pitches he'd like back from Saturday, but one in particular haunts him more than the rest.
In Saturday's 6-5 loss to the Blue Jays, Tomlin surrendered three home runs to one of the league's most powerful offenses. The pitch that resulted in last of the trio of blasts is the one he'd like back the most, an 0-1 offering that Toronto first baseman Edwin Encarnacion deposited into the left-field bleachers for a solo shot.
"I just left the pitch inner third about belt high," Tomlin said. "He's one of the better home run hitters in the league, so you can't make a mistake like that to a guy like that. I've got to do a better job of executing a pitch in that situation. I just didn't do it."
What makes the mistake sting worse is the timing of the blast. The Tribe had just plated five runs in the home half of the fourth to erase an early deficit. Lonnie Chisenhall worked through a lengthy at-bat before lifting the 10th pitch from Aaron Sanchez into the right-center-field seats for a three-run homer.
The momentum seemed to have shifted over to the Indians' dugout, and Tomlin was granted new life after surrendering a pair of jacks early in the contest.
Instead, Tomlin missed his mark for a third time on the very first batter, and Encarnacion made him pay with his 35th homer of the season. Encarnacion and Baltimore's Mark Trumbo are the only players in the Majors to hit the 35-homer threshold this season.
"It knocks everyone down a little bit, and I understand that," Tomlin said. "Obviously, [I] wasn't trying to do that, but I have to execute a pitch there and get the lead guy out. I just didn't do it, and it ended up costing us a game."
The solo shot to open the fifth proved to be the difference in the game as neither of the bullpens budged down the stretch.
"He had a clean fourth, we fought back and then he gave up the solo. That one hurt," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Even though we had a lot of game left because both bullpens did a good job. It was a tough night for him to pitch because he's a fly-ball pitcher. They're a very good hitting team, and he probably didn't get the ball in as much as he would've liked."
It typified Tomlin's biggest issue, which has been keeping the ball in the park. He has allowed at least one home run in 13 straight starts. After Saturday's showing, Tomlin has allowed 32 home runs on the year, which is the highest mark in all of baseball.
Tomlin certainly had a right if he were distracted on the mound, as he returned from the Family Medical Emergency List on Saturday, with Shawn Armstrong being optioned to Triple-A Columbus. However, just as his manger expected, Tomlin didn't blame personal matters after the game.
"There was no distraction," Tomlin said. "When I step in between those lines, it's time to play and it's about baseball. When I'm on the mound, I don't think of any other things in my life. I just try to go out there and compete and try to give this team a chance to win."
And after being handed four straight losses for the first time in his career -- posting a 10.01 ERA over that span -- Tomlin is just looking for an answer to getting back on track.
"It's just getting back to work tomorrow and try to figure something out and go from there," Tomlin said.
Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.