Brewers fall in series opener at Cleveland
CLEVELAND—Josh Tomlin didn’t make a big deal about his first win at Progressive Field in more than a year.
His comeback isn’t complete, it’s continuing.
Tomlin shook off three home runs and lasted six innings to win his season debut at home and Michael Brantley homered twice, leading the Cleveland Indians to an 11-6 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night.
Tomlin (2-1) allowed solo homers in the first and second innings before retiring 12 straight until the sixth, when Ryan Braun touched him for a two-run shot. But the right-hander, who underwent shoulder surgery in March, buckled down and got his first victory in Cleveland since May 21, 2014.
For Tomlin, it was another step. Not the last one.
“I’m not trying to get too satisfied, I’m trying to stay here and do what I can to help this team win,” said Tomlin, who allowed five hits and struck out seven. “It’s definitely good to be back here and help this team win, but I try not to get too satisfied or comfortable and keep working every day and do my job again in four days.”
Brantley hit a pair of two-run shots for the Indians, who chased Wily Peralta (4-8) in the third inning. Jason Kipnis, who came in tied for the AL batting lead, had three hits and rookie Francisco Lindor had three RBIs for Cleveland.
Cleveland’s top three hitters — Kipnis, Lindor and Brantley — went a combined 9 of 12 with nine RBIs and seven runs.
Jonathan Lucroy homered twice and Domingo Santana connected for Milwaukee.
Tomlin’s outing — he struck out seven in six innings — was another significant step in his comeback. The likable 30-year-old was in the mix to compete for a starting job in spring training but was shut down because of shoulder pain and eventually had an operation. It was nothing new for Tomlin, who underwent Tommy John reconstructive surgery in 2012 and has made five career trips to the disabled list.
“It’s awesome,” Brantley said of Tomlin’s return. “I talked to him almost every day after surgery and checked on him. Any time a guy goes under the knife, you root even harder for a guy who is coming back after surgery. He’s fun to be around. He’s awesome and makes you laugh every day.”
The Indians, who just completed an 11-game road trip, have won five of six at Progressive Field.
Brantley connected for his 10th homer in the fourth to put the Indians ahead 6-2. Kipnis walked leading off, and one out later, Brantley knocked a 2-2 pitch from reliever Kyle Lohse into the right-field seats.
Brantley added another homer in the eighth to make it 11-6.
Making their first visit to Cleveland since 2009, the Brewers had a rough night in the field.
Consecutive errors by Milwaukee shortstop Jean Segura and second baseman Scooter Gennett helped the Indians score two unearned runs in the second to take a 4-2 lead.
After the infield miscues, Kipnis hit an RBI double and Lindor slapped a run-scoring single to left off Peralta, who was lifted in the third after 71 pitches. The right-hander appeared as if something was hurting him. Manager Craig Counsell and a trainer visited the mound in the second inning to check on him.
In addition to the errors, Milwaukee missed cutoff throws and didn’t do much on offense other than the three homers.
“We gave them some runs,” Counsell said. “We have to play a cleaner game. It’s hard enough, but giving the other team runs makes it real hard.”
Lucroy’s sixth homer gave the Brewers a 1-0 lead in the first. He hit a two-run shot in the eighth off Ryan Webb to make it 9-6.