Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Josh Tomlin. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
CINCINNATI -- The Cleveland Indians' offensive barrage in this week's four-game interleague series with the Reds wasn't exclusive to position players.
On Thursday night, right-hander Josh Tomlin got in the act with a single, double and sacrifice in his first three at-bats. Tomlin struck out in his fourth at-bat.
"I saw a slider," he said, smiling.
Carlos Santana hit a pair of two-run homers and Tomlin remained undefeated on the season in a 7-2 victory in the series finale at Great American Ball Park.
Cleveland (21-17) scored 43 runs in the series and was retired 1-2-3 only six times in 37 innings while sweeping their interstate rivals in a season set for the first time.
"We were very aggressive and that's important," Santana said. "I see a lot of energy with the team. Tomorrow, we fly to Boston. They have a good team. We'll see what happens."
Joey Votto hit a two-run homer for Cincinnati (15-26) which has lost four of the past five games played against the Indians at Great American Ball Park.
It didn't help that the Reds lost starting pitcher Tim Adleman in the fourth inning Thursday with a strained left oblique, meaning their struggling bullpen had to log more than five innings.
"He'll have an MRI tomorrow," manager Bryan Price said. "We'll know much better in the morning or early afternoon. It's a horrible word, oblique."
Rajai Davis had RBI doubles in consecutive at-bats and was 9-for-16 with three doubles, two homers and nine RBIs in the four games, earning Ohio Cup most outstanding player honors.
"He feels good, you can see it," manager Terry Francona said. "We said it, he's going to get (hits) in bunches. Hopefully the bunches are big."
Tomlin (6-0) gave up two runs and five hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings.
"His cutter was really good tonight," Francona said. "He commanded (his stuff) and gave us what we needed."
Caleb Cotham (0-3) took the loss in relief of Adleman. Keyvius Sampson did his best to keep the Indians' offense at bay with one run allowed in three frames, the longest relief stint of his career.
"I was trying to keep the game competitive and get to Keyvius with some length," Price said.
Adleman allowed a hit and a walk through three innings. In the fourth, Francisco Lindor reached on an infield single, and Santana crushed a 1-0 pitch an estimated 414 feet to right-center for his sixth home run, putting Cleveland ahead 2-0.
"Hopefully he can continue this," Francona said of Santana. "Because if he does, he's such a connector in our lineup wherever he's batting."
Three batters later, Adleman exited after being visited on the mound by the training staff, leaving the game in the hands of the Reds' bullpen which had a 6.43 ERA coming in.
"I'm out there trying to help us win and I have to leave in the fourth inning," Adleman said. "That puts the bullpen and the team on the spot."
Votto tied the score 2-2 with a two-run homer off Tomlin in the fourth. It was Votto's sixth homer of the season. It also was his 198th career home run, tying Hall of Famer Barry Larkin for 11th on the franchise list.
"I had a good cutter today," Tomlin said. "We were able to locate well, except the pitch to Votto. He kind of ambushed a heater that was a little bit up."
The Indians got those runs back in the fifth on Davis' RBI double and an RBI single by Lindor, making the score 4-2.
On the next pitch he saw after homering in the fourth, Santana went deep again, this time off Cotham to make it 6-2. It was Santana's sixth career multi-homer run game and his first since 2014.
When asked if he would opt to DH on Friday against the Red Sox, Tomlin laughed.
"No, my legs are shot," he said.
NOTES: Cleveland outscored Cincinnati 43-16 in the series. ... Reds RHP Homer Bailey threw from 140 feet on Thursday. Bailey's rehab from elbow surgery had been paused due to soreness. ... The Indians began the day three games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2014 season. ... CF Rajai Davis is, according to Elias, the first Cleveland player since Hal Trosky in 1936 to score nine runs in a three-game stretch. Davis reached base 12 times in those three games. ... Indians SS Francisco Lindor has hit safely in all seven games he's played against the Reds, batting .472.