Tomlin stays unbeaten as Indians down Royals 5-4
CLEVELAND (AP) Starter and stopper. Josh Tomlin is handling both roles for the Indians.
The dependable right-hander stayed unbeaten and again helped Cleveland bounce back after a loss, leading the Indians over the Kansas City Royals 5-4 on Sunday.
Tomlin (5-0) worked into the seventh inning and became the first Indians pitcher to win his first five outings since Justin Masterson in 2011. He's also been the one to get the Indians back on track, improving to 12-0 with a 2.82 ERA following a Cleveland loss since the beginning of last season.
''That's why he's a leader on this team,'' catcher Yan Gomes said. ''Anytime he comes in to pitch, whether he's scuffling a little bit or not, he's a bulldog.''
Carlos Santana and Mike Napoli homered off Edinson Volquez (3-3) as the Indians took two of three from the defending World Series champions.
Eric Hosmer homered for the struggling Royals, just 3-9 in their last 12.
Kansas City closed to 5-4 in the seventh, but Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor threw out Cheslor Cuthbert at the plate and reliever Bryan Shaw got Alcides Escobar to bounce into an inning-ending double play.
Royals manager Ned Yost said Cutberth, who was called up from the minors when third baseman Mike Moustakas went on the disabled list, should have reacted more quickly on Jarrod Dyson's grounder.
''He just got a real late break on it,'' Yost said. ''It just wasn't a good read.''
Shaw worked the eighth, and Cody Allen finished for his eighth save in eight chances.
The Indians have confidence in Tomlin, and he delivered another solid outing as Cleveland improved to 10-4 against the AL Central. Tomlin doesn't have an overpowering fastball like most of Cleveland's other starters, but there isn't a pitcher the team trusts as much.
''You got to beat him, and sometimes you do, but he manages the game,'' Indians manager Terry Francona said. ''You can say so many good things. He just loves competing. You can tell, he loves being out there.''
Not surprisingly, the unassuming Tomlin is taking his success in stride.
''I'm just doing my job,'' he said. ''It means I'm going out there and giving them a chance to win, not always the best statistical-wise maybe, but it's a chance to win.''
Clinging to 3-2 a lead, Volquez didn't like something with the mound and asked for maintenance before pitching in the fifth. The grounds crew fixed the dirt for him and then the Indians did some work on the right-hander, scoring three times to go ahead 5-3.
Michael Brantley tied it with an RBI single, and Lonnie Chisenhall's bloop single gave Cleveland a 4-3 lead and chased Volquez, who walked four in 4 1/3 innings.
Marlon Byrd then made it 5-3 with a ground-rule RBI double off Danny Duffy.
Santana led off the first with his fifth homer, on Volquez's second pitch. It was Santana's second game-opening homer and first since April 22 against Detroit's Justin Verlander in his first at-bat atop Cleveland's lineup.
PRETTY IN PINK
Both teams used pink bats, wore pink-highlighted uniforms and several players wore pink cleats on Mother's Day to bring awareness to the fight against breast cancer.
''It's very deserving,'' Tomlin said of the tribute. ''I know what my mom did for me growing up, taking me to tournaments, taking me to fall ball, summer ball, high school. She was always available, and it wasn't for her being able to do that then I probably wouldn't be here today.''
LONNIE IN CENTER
Chisenhall made his first career start in center field and handled all three balls hit his way.
''He's a good outfielder,'' Francona said of the converted third baseman. ''With repetition, he'll be more comfortable.''
After a rough start this season, Shaw has settled in. He's given up just one hit in his six appearances, striking out seven.
''This is as good as we've seen him throw the ball,'' Francona said.
Royals: Chris Young (1-4) pitches the opener of a four-game series at the New York Yankees. Of the 19 runs Young has allowed, 13 have come on homers.
Indians: Corey Kluber (2-3), coming off a complete game shutout of Detroit, faces Houston's Mike Fiers as Cleveland begins a three-game series with the Astros. Kluber is 4-1 with a 1.48 ERA in four starts against Houston.