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LAA@CLE: LaPorta crushes a solo shot to left field

CLEVELAND -- Although they arrived at the seventh inning with matching results, Josh Tomlin and Jered Weaver went about things differently on Tuesday.

The pitchers exchanged zeroes for six frames. When they reached that critical seventh inning, both made their first costly mistake. Tomlin's rare miscue proved to be the game's dagger.

The Indians' hurler surrendered a thunderous, two-run double off the right-center field wall to Mark Trumbo and the Angels diffused another strike of ninth-inning lightning to post a 2-1 win at Progressive Field.

Tomlin (11-5) worked swiftly and efficiently, mowing through the Halos' order in just 68 pitches through six innings. After a first-inning single by Torii Hunter, Tomlin retired the next 12 batters.

Manager Manny Acta has preached about Tomlin's ability to overmatch hitters with pinpoint command rather than overbearing stuff. On Tuesday, he was at his best, firing first-pitch strikes to the first 15 batters.

"Whenever he's not making his pitches in his spots, due to the stuff that he has, he might get in trouble here and there," Acta said. "But when he's on, he's fantastic against anybody. It was just a beautiful game that he pitched tonight."

Tomlin couldn't escape the seventh unscathed, however.

With Bobby Abreu on second base with two out, Acta called for Tomlin to intentionally walk Howard Kendrick, who singled in his previous at-bat. With two strikes, Trumbo, the next batter, plated the Angels' only two runs of the contest with a double.

Acta defended his decision to pass over Kendrick to face the rookie first baseman.

"He's a lot better hitter than Trumbo in the big leagues, more accomplished," the Tribe skipper said. "I'll make that decision again tomorrow if I have to."

Tomlin, who threw at least five innings for the 33rd straight start, didn't care who dug in.

"I have to make pitches to both of those guys," Tomlin said.

Weaver (14-4) offered a different approach. The gangly right-hander needed 113 pitches to get through seven innings as Indians hitters demonstrated patience in the batter's box. As virtuous as that quality can be, it wasn't enough to dilute Weaver's Major League-leading 1.79 ERA.

Weaver scattered five hits and two walks, offsetting his 90 mph fastball with a sharp-breaking curve and deceptive changeup.

"He's always good," Tomlin said. "We know it's going to be tough. I made more mistakes than he did and that's why they won the game."

The Indians finally scratched across a run in the seventh on first baseman Matt LaPorta's ninth long ball of the season, but couldn't recapture the ninth-inning magic that was abundant at Progressive Field a night earlier.

The Tribe loaded the bases with none out against closer Jordan Walden, but LaPorta grounded into a double play and rookie second baseman Jason Kipnis -- Monday's walk-off hero -- couldn't catch up to Walden's upper-90s heater, striking out to end the game.

"The way it worked out, I was excited," Kipnis said. "I wanted to come through again, but it didn't happen this time and it's unfortunate."

The Indians' ongoing offensive drought reared its head when the team placed runners in scoring position. The Indians had been one of the league's select few teams to rough up Weaver this season, scratching across four runs in six innings against him on May 7. On Tuesday, however, Weaver strengthened his candidacy for the American League Cy Young Award by neutralizing the few threats the Indians generated.

"The only thing we didn't do today was get a key hit," Acta said. "We had a very good approach against Weaver. We made him throw the ball over the plate and we made him work really, really hard. We just couldn't get a good hit with runners in scoring position all night."

Tomlin and Weaver both dissipated most of their opposition's rallies, but the Angels' 6-foot-7 ace stood tall in the end.

"We had our chance at the end," Acta said. "We just couldn't get the ball out of the infield. They stopped the magic tonight." Comments