CLEVELAND – Josh Tomlin took a shutout into the eighth inning against Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees to win his major league debut with the Cleveland Indians, 4-1 on Tuesday night.
Getting one more chance at hitting his 600th homer with two outs in the ninth inning, Rodriguez grounded into a forceout to shortstop to end the game. A-Rod went 0 for 4 on his 35th birthday.
The 25-year-old Tomlin outpitched former Indians ace CC Sabathia (13-4), handing the left-hander his first loss in 12 starts since May 23.
With flashbulbs popping in the seventh, Rodriguez brought the crowd of 27,416 to its feet with two outs and Nick Swisher on third base. The Yankees star hit a 1-2 pitch to right-center, but the ball fell just short of the warning track and was easily caught. Rodriguez grounded out weakly his first two times up.
Tomlin (1-0) wasn't even on Cleveland's 40-man roster to start the day, but baffled a Yankees lineup that has the majors' best record with breaking balls and a sneaky fastball. The right-hander gave up one run on three hits after having his contract purchased from Triple-A Columbus, where he had an 8-4 record and 2.68 ERA. He struck out two and walked none, leaving after allowing Robinson Cano's leadoff double in the eighth.
Cano scored on a one-out groundout by pinch-hitter Colin Curtis against reliever Joe Smith.
Chris Perez worked the ninth for his 10th save in 13 chances.
Shin-Soo Choo had three hits and Matt LaPorta two RBIs for Cleveland.
LaPorta was the key player acquired in the four-for-one deal that sent Sabathia to Milwaukee in July 2008 when it became apparent the 2007 AL Cy Young winner was going to leave Cleveland as a free agent after that season.
Sabathia went 11-2 to pitch the Brewers into the playoffs, then signed a seven-year, $161 million deal with New York.
The left-hander gave up nine hits and four runs over seven innings. He was 9-0 with a 2.22 ERA over his previous 11 starts.
Yankees catcher Jorge Posada was a gametime scratch because of left knee soreness.
Posada was replaced by Francisco Cervelli, whose defense kept Cleveland from scoring in the first.
With Choo on second, Austin Kearns singled between third and short. Left fielder Brett Gardner made a strong throw to Cervelli, who blocked the plate so well that the sliding Choo never got there.
Errors by Cervelli and second baseman Robinson Cano gave Cleveland a 2-0 lead in the fourth.
With runners on second and third, Kearns grounded to Rodriguez. The throw home by the Yankees' third baseman was in time to get the sliding Asdubal Cabrera — but Cervelli dropped it.
One out later, Jhonny Peralta hit a potential double-play grounder up the middle and New York didn't get any outs. Shortstop Derek Jeter fielded and flipped the ball to Cano, who threw to first. Cano got an error for not being on the bag when he caught the ball. Since Peralta also beat the throw, Cleveland had the bases were loaded.
LaPorta's sac fly made it 2-0 before Sabathia struck out Jason Donald to get out of the jam.
LaPorta had an RBI double and Chris Gimenez a bases-loaded walk to make it 4-0 in the sixth.
Tomlin started in the rotation spot opened when left-hander Aaron Laffey was placed on the disabled list Friday with shoulder fatigue. A 19th-round pick out of Texas Tech in 2006, he went 51-24 with a 3.20 ERA in the minor leagues.
Rodriguez is 0 for 8 in two games against Cleveland and 5 for 20 in five games since hitting No. 599 on Thursday.
NOTES: Yankees RHP Alfredo Aceves, out since May 12 with a strained lower back, threw a bullpen session. ... Indians RHP Kerry Wood, out since July 11 with a blistered right index finger, also threw in the bullpen. Manager Manny Acta said he will wait until seeing how Wood feels Wednesday before the team decides future plans. ... Indians rookie C Carlos Santana, in a 2 for 13 slump, didn't start. Santana is batting .208 in July. ... Sabathia hasn't allowed a home run in 73 innings since Baltimore's Luke Scott did it June 3. ... Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira had his streak of reaching base safely stopped at 42 games.