PHOENIX -- Josh Tomlin and Daniel Hudson disproved the notion that pitchers can't hit, but it turned out to be a slugger who made the difference in the Indians' 6-4 loss to the D-backs at Chase Field on Tuesday.
Wily Mo Pena's two-run, pinch-hit homer off reliever Tony Sipp with two out in the bottom of the ninth gave Arizona a walk-off victory and handed Cleveland its fourth loss in five games.
Pena, who last week returned to the Major Leagues after a three-year absence on the back of the 21 home runs he hit in 63 Triple-A games, turned around a storyline that had been playing out as the starting pitchers made impressive contributions with their bats.
Tomlin, the Indians' starter who got his first chances at the plate in a Major League game thanks to Interleague Play, had his first two career hits and his first RBI. His opponent, Hudson, almost matched him with a run-scoring double and two sacrifice bunts."It was fun," said Tomlin, who last hit in an organized game when he played college ball in Texas. "I wasn't trying to do too much. I just didn't want to go out there and look like an idiot." The Tribe tied the score in the top of the ninth on a home run by catcher Carlos Santana, after Tomlin pitched seven efficient innings, allowing just two runs on five hits while striking out four and walking none. He tossed only 88 pitches. Though he missed a shot at his 10th win, Tomlin has gone at least five innings in each of his first 28 big league appearances, setting a Cleveland record and tying the Major League mark set by Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2007. "That means I'm doing my job," Tomlin said. "As a starting pitcher you're supposed to go as deep into the game as you can. To me, I just try to save our bullpen as much as I can. All that tells me is that I've been able to do my job for 28 games." No Indians pitcher had had a base hit since CC Sabathia banged one out at Dodger Stadium on June 21, 2008. Sabathia homered that day in a 7-2 victory. "He's a different breed," Tomlin said about the big left-hander, now with the Yankees. Perhaps, but Tomlin was good with a bat as well. He pushed a bunt past the left side of the mound after Shelley Duncan opened the third inning with a double. Tomlin ended up with the first hit of his career and Duncan advanced to third. Duncan scored moments later on Michael Brantley's double-play grounder, giving the Indians a 1-0 lead. In the fifth, with two out and rookie Lonnie Chisenhall on second via a double, Tomlin drilled a single to center, driving home Chisenhall for his first RBI and a 2-0 lead. "Sometimes you get the American League teams in here and you kind of take them for granted," Hudson said. "[Tomlin] just put a nice, short swing on a fastball away and hit it right up the middle, so you just tip your cap to him." Hudson was no slouch, either, at the plate or on the mound. His double in the bottom of the fifth followed a Gerardo Parra triple to knock in Arizona's first run. Hudson's bat played a big role again in the eighth as he adroitly laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Parra from first to second. Parra scored on Kelly Johnson's single to give the D-backs a 3-2 lead. Johnson's homer off Tomlin in the sixth had tied the score. Hudson, who was also denied a 10th win of the season, was equally as effective on the bump. He went eight innings, allowing the two runs on six hits with five whiffs and a walk. He left the game hitting .303 with seven RBIs in 33 at-bats. It was that kind of heady offensive night for the starting pitchers. Tomlin got the baseballs from the first hit and RBI to have as keepsakes. He didn't win, but it will always be a special night for him. "This kid is a good athlete," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He does a lot of things to help himself. Tonight he helped himself with the bat and ran the bases and all that. He played shortstop and all those kind of positions in high school. He got two. He doubled down. Good for him."
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.