By CURTIS CRABTREE
SEATTLE — Working both sides of the plate and mixing in his changeup, Indians starter Josh Tomlin had little trouble keeping the Seattle Mariners at bay Saturday night.
Tomlin threw the second complete game of his career, throwing a one-hitter with a career-high 11 strikeouts in Cleveland’s 5-0 victory over Seattle .
Tomlin (5-5) didn’t walk a batter and a leadoff single by Kyle Seager in the fifth inning was the only blemish on his evening.
It was the second complete game of Tomlin’s career and the first one-hitter by a Cleveland pitcher since Billy Traber did it against the Yankees on July 8, 2003.
“He commanded so well,” manager Terry Francona said. “He was expanding (the strike zone). He showed in to keep them honest and then he’d go away. A little farther. A little farther, just leading guys to pitches.
“That was just a tremendous outing.”
It’s only the third time since 2002 that a pitcher has recorded a one-hit shutout with at least 11 strikeouts and no walks. St. Louis’ Shelby Miller struck out 13 in a 3-0 victory over Colorado on May 10, 2013. San Francisco’s Matt Cain equaled Tomlin with 11 strikeouts in a 5-0 win over Pittsburgh on April 13, 2012.
“I felt good and I knew I was commanding the ball well to both sides of the plate,” Tomlin said. “I had to have a good changeup today to get them off everything else.”
The Indians jumped on Mariners starter Roenis Elias (7-6) for a pair of runs in the first inning. Asdrubal Cabrera doubled and scored on a single from Michael Brantley.
Brantley advanced to second on the throw home and scored on a double by Carlos Santana to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.
Mike Aviles singled with one out in the fifth and came around to score on Michael Bourn’s double. A balk by Elias moved Bourn to third and Cabrera’s sacrifice fly scored Bourn to give the Indians a 4-0 lead.
Meanwhile, the Mariners couldn’t solve Tomlin. He retired the first 12 batters he faced with some help from right fielder Ryan Raburn, who tracked down a deep line drive from Seager with a diving grab on the warning track in the second inning.
“Great catch,” Francona said. “I’m glad it doesn’t get lost two hours later because that was a really nice play.”
Seager singled to lead off the fifth and took second on a wild pitch and advanced to third when the throw from catcher Yan Gomes sailed into center field. He was stranded when Tomlin struck out Michael Saunders to end the inning.
“Our at-bats were not at-bats we want to talk about,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. “We want to forget about them. It was one of those nights.”
Gomes homered off Elias in the sixth inning to extend Cleveland’s lead to 5-0.
NOTES: Tomlin is 4-1 with a 3.41 ERA in five career starts against Seattle and 3-0 with a 2.12 ERA at Safeco Field. … Indians RHP Justin Masterson is on track to start Tuesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers after pushing his scheduled spot in the rotation back two days due to a sore knee. … It was the second time this season that Seattle had been held to just one hit. Garrett Richards, Joe Smith and Ernesto Frieri of the Los Angeles Angels combined to one-hit Seattle on April 9. … LHP TJ House (0-1, 4.88 ERA) will be activated to start Sunday’s series finale with Seattle. He will face Mariners ace RHP Felix Hernandez (9-2, 2.24 ERA). … McClendon said after the game the team is expected to call up RHP Taijuan Walker from Triple-A Tacoma to start Monday against the Houston Astros. … The Mariners are 43-38 at the halfway point of their season. It’s the first time the team has been over .500 through 81 games since 2009 (42-39).