Cleveland, OH – Josh Tomlin pitched seven innings of one-run ball and the Cleveland Indians posted a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays to open a four-game series.
Tomlin (5-5) gave up two hits and struck out three with no walks to win his second straight start. Shin-Soo Choo, Travis Hafner and Michael Brantley all hit solo homers for the Indians, who won their third straight and fifth in six games.
"Tomlin did a fantastic job and that's the only way you can beat those guys is by out-pitching them," said Cleveland manager Manny Acta. "His curveball was fantastic and it kept them off-balance all night."
Jose Molina drove in the only run for the Rays, who have lost their past two. Jeremy Hellickson (4-5) dropped his fifth straight decision as he was tagged for two runs on five hits with four walks and three strikeouts over six innings.
"I thought his stuff was pretty good out there tonight," said Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon about Hellickson. "He did a good job and gave us a chance to win, we just couldn't get anything going."
Choo led off the first with his ninth homer of the year and Brantley added a solo shot in the second, his third of the year, with one out.
Tampa Bay had just one runner reach base through the first four innings, but got a quick run in the fifth. Will Rhymes tripled with one out and came home on Molina's groundout.
Tomlin retired the Rays in order in the sixth and seventh and Vinnie Pestano worked a 1-2-3 eighth thanks to Elliot Johnson getting thrown out at second trying to stretch a single into a Tobago.
Hafner added a solo shot in the eighth off Jake McGee and Chris Perez worked around a leadoff single by Desmond Jennings in the ninth to pick up his 24th save of the season.
Tampa Bay first baseman Luke Scott went 0-for-3 to stretch his hitless streak to 39 at-bats. He broke the Tampa Bay record for longest stretch of at-bats without a hit set by Jose Cruz Jr. from April 16-May 1, 2004...Cleveland still trails in the season series as the Rays have won four of the seven games...Tomlin improved to 1-1 in three starts against the Rays...Hellickson fell to 1-1 in two starts against the Indians.