CLEVELAND — Something fishy was going on Tuesday night at Progressive Field.
Indians starter Josh Tomlin had his worst performance of the season, the Cleveland batters couldn’t figure out rookie starter Matt Shoemaker and Angels center fielder Mike Trout continued his torrid pace at the plate with a pair of monster home runs during Los Angeles’ 9-3 victory.
The loss snapped Cleveland’s three-game winning streak and their 10-game home winning streak.
What about Trout impressed Indians manager Terry Francona?
“Whew … there’s a lot,” Francona said. “For his sake, they should rest him tomorrow. He has a chance to be a pretty good player. They don’t want to tire him out.”
Trout’s performance of late has been no laughing matter for Angels opponents.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound 22-year-old extended his hitting streak to 12 with a double in the first inning, hit a back-breaking three-run shot in the fifth and added a 410-foot solo homer in the seventh.
Trout, who ranks second in the AL all-star voting, pulled even with first baseman Albert Pujols for the team lead with his 15th and 16th home runs and increased his team-leading RBI total to 54.
“I threw him a handful of cutters, hoping he’d go after one of them,” Tomlin said during his fifth-inning battle with Trout. “He’s tough to pitch to. I eventually threw him a fastball down and away. He took a good cut and you saw what happened.”
Trout wasn’t the only Angels hitter that found success against Tomlin.
Leadoff hitter Kole Calhoun went 4-for-5, second baseman Howie Kendrick went 3-for-5, including a solo home run to lead off the sixth, and the Angels finished with 15 hits — eight for extra bases.
“(Tomlin) couldn’t keep Calhoun off base,” Francona said. “Then Trout had that battle and (Tomlin) couldn’t put him away. The more pitches (Trout) got, the more dangerous he got. Eventually he put that homer in the stands. That was a killer.”
While Tomlin was in unusually poor form — he allowed a season-high six runs in his shortest start of the year — Shoemaker was putting together a career night.
Making just his eighth major league start, the right-hander threw a career-high eight innings and finished with a career-high 10 strikeouts. He improved to 4-1 after taking his lone loss in a relief appearance April 12.
“He was throwing everything for strikes,” said Indians first baseman Carlos Santana, who went 1-for-3 with a run. “His fastballs, his change-ups … everything was working. He was perfect tonight.”
The Angels hitters weren’t perfect, but they were close enough.
With Calhoun on fire in front of him and power-hitting Pujols behind, Trout was able to relax and wait for Tomlin to give him a good pitch.
“You try not to get beat when you’re out there,” Tomlin said. “But when you fall behind on guys like that, sometimes they make you pay for it.”