WASHINGTON — With injuries and struggles decimating the Cleveland Indians’ starting rotation, Josh Tomlin had been a rock.
That hasn’t been the case the past two starts when Tomlin has failed to get through the fifth inning. For the second consecutive outing, Tomlin allowed seven earned runs, this time in a 7-4 loss to the Washington Nationals on Wednesday.
Tomlin (11-5) allowed those runs on eight hits in four-plus innings while striking out four. Jayson Werth crushed a three-run home run in the second inning, and three hits in the fifth ended Tomlin’s outing.
“I’ve been prone to home runs all year, but they come usually when no one’s on base or limited traffic,” Tomlin said. “Right now there’s traffic. It seems like I’m beginning to have to work around guys. I make a mistake, I pay for it.”
It didn’t help Tomlin that right fielder Abraham Almonte appeared to lose a ball in the sun on what turned into Werth’s ground-rule double in the first and had a ball go off his glove for an RBI double by Daniel Murphy in the fifth.
Tomlin accepted blame for giving up hits, but manager Terry Francona would’ve liked to see Almonte make a couple of plays for his pitcher.
“He made some mistakes and paid for it,” Francona said. “The first inning, Abe was fighting the sun, turns into a double, that’s the run. And then on the line drive to right, looked like Abe had it and looked to the wall, hit him in the glove. That would have been first and second with one out as opposed to a full-fledged rally.”
Almonte said the sun was difficult and that he lost control when he got close to the wall.