CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians starter Josh Tomlin had only pitched on three days’ rest one other time in his Major League career, but that success did not repeat itself during his outing in Game 6 of the World Series at Progressive Field Tuesday night.
Tomlin allowed six runs, all earned, six hits with one home run and one walk without a strikeout over 2.1 innings of work in a 9-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs, which ensures a Game 7 at Progressive Field Wednesday night.
“I thought coming out of the gate, he looked terrific,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “I mean, first two hitters, small sample, but kind of shows you what stuff he's going to have. Throwing strikes and it was crisp.”
Down to their final strike in the top of the first inning after the first two hitters lined and grounded out respectively, third baseman Kris Bryant belted a solo home run into the bleacher seats in left field. The 400-foot blast put the Cubs in front of the Indians, 1-0, but the damage was far from done.
First baseman Anthony Rizzo and left fielder Ben Zobrist followed with back-to-back singles to right-center field, which put runners on the corners with two outs. Shortstop Addison Russell delivered the big blow when he flared a double that should have been a fly out to center field.
Center fielder Tyler Naquin had some miscommunication with right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall and the ball fell between them for a two-run double as both Rizzo and Zobrist came around to score, which gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead.
Tomlin was ahead of or even with every one of the counts that resulted in Chicago hits and runs in the first inning.
“You know, he got ahead of Bryant 0-2, and left a breaking ball,” Francona said. “He was trying to bounce it or get it down out of the zone, and threw it way, way too good, and Bryant hit the solo.”
With one swing of the bat, the Cubs broke open Game 6 in the third inning.
Already up by a 3-0 count, the Cubs tacked on four more runs when Russell belted a grand slam and made it a 7-0 lead over the Indians.
Designated hitter Kyle Schwarber started the inning with a walk after fouling off a pitch to keep the at-bat alive, and following Bryant’s fly out to right field, Rizzo and Zobrist loaded the bases with back-to-back singles.
The Zobrist hit drove Tomlin from the game and Dan Otero came on in relief. After throwing two straight balls to start the at-bat, Otero left a ball out over the plate that Russell smashed more than 400 feet over the wall in center field.
Russell’s grand slam was the Cubs’ first ever in a World Series game, and also, the first one allowed by the Indians in their six trips to the Fall Classic.
“Getting into the third, I just thought he had a harder time throwing his breaking ball where he wanted to,” Francona said of Tomlin. “It was just catching a lot of the plate.”