The Cleveland Indians pulled out another series sweep on Sunday, knocking off the Kansas City Royals 3-2.
A sacrifice fly by Francisco Lindor with one out in the top of the eighth inning brought Carlos Santana plateward to break a 2-2 tie, giving the Cleveland Indians their 94th win of the season, 3-2 over the Kansas City Royals.
Josh Tomlin made the start for Cleveland, and within the first three pitches he was trailing 1-0. KC’s Jarrod Dyson doubled on the first pitch he saw and Whit Merrifield followed with one of his own on the second he saw for a quick lead.
Indians’ catcher Yan Gomes gave his side the lead with a two-run home run off Royals’ right-hander Ian Kennedy in the third, but it would be short-lived, as Cheslor Cuthbert took Tomlin deep to left-center in the bottom of the fifth.
From there, it was a pitcher’s duel, as Tomlin and Kennedy combined to retire 21 straight batters from the fifth through the eighth innings.
Cleveland will now wait to see if it must play game No. 162 on Monday afternoon in Detroit, a makeup for Thursday’s postponement. The game will only be necessary if it impacts the Tigers’ wild card race or home-field advantage for the Indians’ ALDS matchup with Boston.
This was the first start for Gomes since he suffered a separated shoulder in Minnesota on July 17th. He played as a defensive replacement late in the game the past two days, but wasn’t cleared to swing a bat until yesterday.
In the top of the the third following a Tyler Naquin hit by pitch, Gomes picked out a first-pitch 91 mile per hour Kennedy four-seamer and drove it into the seats in left field.
After the season Gomes has had, first struggling epically at the plate before the shoulder injury and subsequent broken wrist on a hit by pitch while rehabbing with the Akron Rubberducks, it would have been easy to hang it up and prepare for spring training. That he’s fought all the way back in an attempt to help the team speaks volumes.
Tomlin was making his last start before the postseason, where he is slated to start game three of the ALDS against the Red Sox. The 31-year old righty was once again solid, as he has been since being reinserted into the rotation in mid-September.
In 7.1 innings, Tomlin yielded just two runs on six hits, striking out three and not issuing a walk. The only possibly concerning development was that he gave up the home run to Cuthbert, the first he had allowed since August 30th but the 37th of the year.
The Waiting Game
At the time the Tribe game ended, Detroit was trailing Atlanta 1-0 in the eighth inning. A loss by the Tigers would eliminate them from the AL Wild Card race. Boston was tied with Toronto, 1-1, in the eighth as well.
If both the Indians and Red Sox claim victories on Sunday, Cleveland and Detroit will be forced to play Monday’s makeup game. It’s unclear at this time who would be pitching for the Tribe, but it odds are it will be a modified bullpen game with one of Cody Anderson, Ryan Merritt, or Adam Plutko on the bump.