Tomlin's relief leaves question about G4 starter

Right-hander, who was set to pitch Monday's game (if necessary), throws two innings in win Friday

Tomlin's relief leaves question about G4 starter

CLEVELAND -- Josh Tomlin was scheduled to be the Indians' starter against the Yankees in the American League Division Series presented by Doosan for Monday's Game 4 (if necessary). Instead, as Game 2 wore on into extra innings, he became a reliever, throwing two perfect frames while striking out three and getting the win in Cleveland's 9-8, 13-inning victory.

It was no big deal for Tomlin, who also volunteered for bullpen duty during the Tribe's run to the World Series last year.

Game Date Results Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 5 CLE 4, NYY 0 Watch
Gm 2 Oct. 6 CLE 9, NYY 8 (13) Watch
Gm 3 Oct. 8 NYY 1, CLE 0 Watch
Gm 4 Oct. 9 NYY 7, CLE 3 Watch
Gm 5 Oct. 11 NYY 5, CLE 2 Watch

"We talked about it before the series started," Tomlin said. "There may be a couple starters that need to go out to the bullpen. That way, it makes our roster more flexible. ... It was just, 'OK, let me know when I need to pitch.'"

As the innings piled up in Game 2, one of the starters needed to pitch. Indians manager Terry Francona had hard-throwing Danny Salazar warming up a couple times, but he opted instead for Tomlin and his postseason experience as the game entered the 12th inning.

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Tomlin not only retired the middle of the Yanks' order in the 12th, but he stayed in to do the same with the bottom of the lineup in the 13th. He drew a trio of called third strikes -- two on cutters at the knees, then a nasty breaking ball on the outside corner to retire Ronald Torreyes.

"You plan on going as long as you need to go," Tomlin said. "I feel like you treat it like one pitch at a time. 'I'm going to try to get this guy out, I'm going to try to get this guy out.' Then once you're down to three outs, you can root your teammates on. And if you have to go back out there, it's the same thing. One swing of the bat can change the game."

One swing from Yan Gomes did, and it earned Tomlin his third career postseason victory. He won twice as a starter last year during the postseason.

Gomes' walk-off single

As for Game 4, Cleveland might not even need a starter if it wins Game 3 tonight at Yankee Stadium. Trevor Bauer, who pitched brilliantly in Game 1 on Thursday, could be ready on short rest. He was already speculated as an option before Tomlin took the mound Friday.

"There's no reason for us to name a starter for three days from now," Francona said. "We were just trying to win a game, and we were fortunate that we did. The one thing I do know is everybody in that room will volunteer to do something, and I think together we'll figure it out."

Tomlin was already raising his hand for the potential assignment.

"I'm not exactly sure what the next step is going to be," Tomlin said, "but I feel great. And this is the playoffs. Whenever your name's called, whenever it may be, it's time to go out there and try to get the job done."

Jason Beck has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.