Tomlin baffles Royals as Indians grab finale

Tomlin baffles Royals as Indians grab finale

CLEVELAND -- Right-hander Josh Tomlin bounced back from two shaky starts by tossing a complete game, while Jason Kipnis had four hits, including a home run, as the Indians thumped the Royals, 10-1, on Sunday at Progressive Field to grab the final game of the three-game series.

"[Tomlin has] always been that stopper for us," said Kipnis. "Anytime we've needed a win, you look at him and it doesn't matter who he's going against. He was locked in. Before the game, you could see him walking around. He was keeping to himself. You could tell, let him go do what he does. He had a lot of conviction with his pitches today."

Tomlin gave up six hits, walked none and struck out three, throwing a season-high 111 pitches -- one away from his career high. The complete game was the fifth of Tomlin's career, with his last also coming against the Royals in 2015.

"He pounds the zone," said Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield, who extended his hitting streak to 13 games. "We're an aggressive team -- so he's either going to throw a complete game or he's going to be out after two innings. Today, it was a complete game."

Austin Jackson had two hits and three RBIs for the Indians, while Michael Brantley, Jose Ramirez and Carlos Santana each had three hits, as the Tribe pounded out 18 hits.

Jackson's RBI double

"He's been doing this for a long time," said Indians manager Terry Francona about Jackson, who was activated from the disabled list on Friday. "But he did swing the bat very well. I think, just as important, he looks healthy, which is good."

Royals left-hander Danny Duffy lasted only four-plus innings, giving up nine hits and six runs.

Rookie Jorge Bonifacio belted his seventh home run to account for the Royals' lone tally.

Bonifacio's solo home run

Turning point: The Royals had crept within 3-1 when Brantley led off the Indians' fifth with a harmless looking ground ball toward first baseman Eric Hosmer. But Duffy was late covering the bag and then missed the bag with his foot on Hosmer's toss. Brantley was awarded an infield single that started a three-run outburst that chased Duffy and essentially put the game out of reach. Santana, Jackson and Roberto Perez picked up the RBIs. More >

Santana's RBI single

Stop right there: Tomlin, who'd given up 11 runs and 16 hits in his last two starts over 8 2/3 innings, might have been concerned after Hosmer led off the Royals' second with a double in a scoreless game. But Tomlin proceeded to get Salvador Perez, who came into the game hitting .531 (17-for-32) against Tomlin, to line out softly to third. Bonifacio grounded out and Brandon Moss flied out, ending the threat.

"[Tomlin] is always good against us," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He seldom makes mistakes against us. He's got a good breaking ball. He works the corners. We're an aggressive team. ... He just pitches really [well] against us."

"My changeup was a little hard early on in the game, so the curveball was key for me to kind of keep hitters off balance. It has that change of speed enough where it can get them out in front and then just makes the fastball play a little bit better." -- Tomlin, on his outing

"We know we can be playing better. Games like this only reassure us that this is the type of product we can roll out there when everything is going well. This is the type of team we can be. So it's frustrating when it doesn't show up every day." -- Kipnis, on how Sunday's game shows the team's ability

Kipnis racks up four hits in win

With one out in sixth inning, Brantley robbed Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas of a bloop hit with a diving catch near the left-field line. Brantley's catch had a 46 percent catch probability, per Statcast™, as he covered 80 feet in 4.6 seconds to make the four-star catch. Brantley is now 3-for-6 on four-star catches this season.

Brantley's diving grab

"That was a really good catch," Tomlin said. "I'm probably pretty certain he was playing the lefty to [the] pull side a little bit, so he had to run a long way to get that ball. I hate seeing him dive like that, especially close to that wall for one, and then the [warning-track turf] on third base, left-field line, all the way around. That hard stuff. I don't like seeing our outfielders dive on that sort of stuff. But it was a great play, no doubt about it."

Royals: Right-hander Jason Hammel (1-6, 5.98 ERA) takes the mound for the Royals as they open a three-game set against the Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on Monday at 6:15 p.m. CT. After several rough outings, Hammel bounced back against the Yankees last Wednesday, throwing six innings and giving up three runs while striking out a season-high seven.

Indians: The Tribe will open a four-game series against the Athletics at Progressive Field on Monday at 4:10 p.m. ET. Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (4-2, 2.93 ERA) will make his 10th start of the season after he allowed four runs on five hits in 6 1/3 innings against the Reds on Tuesday.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

William Kosileski is a reporter for based in Cleveland and covered the Indians on Sunday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.