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Indians Look To Widen Their Central Division Lead Behind Josh Tomlin

The Indians, after breaking their three-game losing streak in resounding fashion last night — belting five homers on their way to a 9-4 victory over the Royals — will try to make it two straight over Kansas City and win their ninth game in a row at Progressive Field tonight at 7:05.

Cleveland begins the day with their largest lead in the Central Division of the season, at two and-a-half games over the Royals and the Detroit Tigers, and will look to Josh Tomlin to pitch as he has all season to try to improve to 15-8.

Tomlin, who left last Thursday’s game against Kansas City in the eighth inning with a 2-0 lead, only to see the bullpen give away both the lead and the game, is seeking to go 4-0. In four previous starts this year, Tomlin is 3-0 with a 2.33 ERA. In 27 innings, he has given up only seven runs on 17 hits, walking seven and fanning fifteen. Tomlin has allowed three home runs.

Against Kansas City, Tomlin is 2-1 in his career, with an ERA of 4.44. In 26 1/3 frames versus the Royals, Tomlin has allowed 13 earned runs and has surrendered two homers — both to Wilson Betemit.

The Royals will send Jeff Francis (0-2, 4.06 ERA) for his third career start against the Tribe. Francis — in this his first season in the American League after spending six seasons with the Colorado Rockies — has gone 1-1 versus Cleveland. In 11 2/3 innings Francis has allowed eight earned runs on thirteen hits, for an ERA of 6.17 against The Good Guys.

In Francis’s five appearances this season, covering 31 innings, he has allowed 36 hits and 14 earned runs, along with four homers. Francis has walked only four while striking out 16.

In his last game, last Friday in Texas, Francis lasted only four innings, giving up nine hits, five earned runs and two long-balls.

Kansas City has dropped four in a row on their current road trip to fall into their tie for second.

This three-game series will conclude on Thursday night at 7:05, when the Indians will hopefully be looking for a double-digit home winning streak.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.