Jul 5, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Josh Tomlin (43) delivers in the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
When you play the Rays, it's almost always going to be a low-scoring game, as they have excellent starting pitching, but also an offense might be the worst in the league right now.
Josh Tomlin needed a good outing; he's given up at least 5 earned runs in four of his last 6 starts, and with an ERA approaching 6, the Indians had to be thinking about other options in the rotation (Corey Kluber, for instance). So it was very good timing that Tomlin's final first-half start was against the Rays rather than the Angels. Tomlin allowed one run in seven innings on just two hits. Those two hits were the only base runners that Tomlin allowed, as he didn't walk anyone, and the Indians didn't commit an error.
So the Indians didn't need much offense to win, and they use the home run to get it, usually the best run-scoring method against a good starter. Shin-Soo Choo led off the game with 9th home run, Michael Brantley went deep in the second inning, and Travis Hafner hit a majestic drive in the eighth to give the Indians a bit of breathing room. Choo went 2-for-3 on the evening, and is hitting .311/.372/.602 over the past 28 days. Although he wasn't selected as an All-Star (and is still 0-for his career), I think he's the best right fielder in the AL right now.
Tomlin's strong seven innings meant that the Indians were set up perfectly to finish things out, and thanks to the Tribe's blowout win on Wednesday, Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez were rest. Each pitched a scoreless inning to give the Indians their sixth win in eight games.