By HAL McCOY
CINCINNATI — A dozen or so people stood outside the Great American Ball Park main gate Thursday protesting ‘Chief Wahoo,’ the logo the Cleveland Indians wear on their caps.
The Cincinnati Reds, particularly the pitchers, should have joined to protest the evil treatment the Wahoos administered to them over the past four days.
The Tribe completed a four-game sweep Thursday night, 7-2, taking the last two in Great American Ball Park after taking the first two in their own Progressive Field.
15-6, 13-1, 8-7, 7-2. Three punches to the mouth and one glancing blow.
AND THE INDIANS found oh-so-many ways to flush the Reds’ cheeks during those four games. On Thursday it was Cleveland pitcher Josh Tomlin — and it wasn’t necessarily his arm.
Oh, he was masterful with his arm, as he usually is. His record is now 6-and-0 in seven starts after he held the Reds to two runs and five hits over 7 2/3 innings, striking out seven and walking one. That gives him five total walks for the entire season.
And because of the designated hitter in the American League Tomlin hadn’t batted all season. But he had to bat against the Reds and bat he did. He had the Tribe’s first hit with one out in the third and he led a four-run fifth inning with a double.
THE HEAVIEST DAMAGE, though, was done by Cleveland first baseman Carlos Santana, a pair of two-runs homers that gave the Indians seven during the four-game sweep.
“We only have so many resources until you start getting to the second tier of pitchers in Triple-A,” manager Bryan Price said of his pitching staff. “What we need is for the group we have here to perform better, give us some more depth with our starts.”
Price paused quickly from his little dissertation and said, “We’re talking about the same story every day here. We have to pitch better if we are going to stay away from losing streaks and be able to keep our heads above water. If we can’t pitch we aren’t going to compete very well.”
TIM ADDLEMAN STARTED for the Reds and gave up Santana’s first blast, a two-run shot in the fourth. Three batters later he left the game with a strained left oblique, the same injury that has kept Anthony DeSclafani immobile so far for the entire season.
“That’s a horrible word to hear, the word oblique,” said Price. “Oblique, if it’s significant, can be a long-term, multiple-week injury that would be a big setback for Tim and the club as well because he has been throwing the ball well. DeSclafani has been on the shelf with an oblique since March 24.”
The Reds tied the game, 2-2, in the fourth when Billy Hamilton led the inning with a double. Joey Votto, who took extra batting practice before the game as special advisor Lou Piniella watched, unloaded his sixth home run.
Caleb Cotham replaced Adleman and The Nightly Assault on the Bullpen began. Tomlin doubled and scored on a Rajai Davis double. Francisco Lindor singled to make it 4-2 and Santana connected on a home run he knocked into next year for a 6-2 lead.
THE INDIANS MADE it 7-2 in the sixth on Jose Uribe’s single, Tomlin’s sacrifice bunt and a run-scoring double by Rajai Davis. He came into the series on a 1 for 30 skid, but during the four games he had nine hits that included three doubles and two home runs, scored nine and drove in nine, a performance that won him the Outstanding Player Award for the annual Ohio Cup Series.
The Ohio Cup? Yes, it goes to the winner each year of The Battle of Ohio and, course, the Indians retained it four games to nothing.
The Ohio Cup, though, isn’t something everybody knows about or cares about. And it goes way back to win Tim ‘Big Bird’ Birtsas pitched for the Reds in the late 1980s. He was scheduled to pitch one of the games against Cleveland and was asked if he was excited about the Ohio Cup. “What’s that, a boat race?” he asked seriously.
If it is a boat race the Reds were on a doomed schooner. In the four games they gave up 43 runs and 54 hits. They’ve lost 10 of their last 12 and are solidifying their grip on last place in the National League Central. They are 14 games behind the first-place and Chicago Cubs and three behind the next-to-last-place Milwaukee Brewers.