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TB@CLE: Tomlin two-hits Rays over seven to earn win

Josh Tomlin can't explain the inconsistency. One start, he pitches like the guy who won 12 games for the Indians last year. The next, he gets knocked around and doesn't look like he belongs in the starting rotation.

"I don't know what it is. I honest to God don't," Tomlin said. "The inconsistency this year for me has been the biggest disappointment. Last year, I felt like I could go out there every start and figure out a way to pitch deep into the game. That hasn't happened as much this year."

After allowing five or more earned runs in consecutive starts, Tomlin rebounded in his last outing against the Rays. He'll try to beat Tampa Bay for the second straight time when he takes the mound for the Indians on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field.

Tomlin was nearly flawless in his last outing. He allowed only one run on two hits over seven innings, and he needed just 88 pitches to get to that point. Tomlin doesn't have overpowering stuff, but he kept the Tampa Bay hitters off-balance with his location.

"He's a pitcher. He pitches well," Rays manager Joe Maddon said after the game. "You cannot cooperate with him. You've got to make him come over the plate. And whenever he did, it appeared from the side; he was coming over the edges."

The Rays will turn to left-hander Matt Moore, who struggled in his last start against the Indians. Moore lasted only 4 2/3 innings in that outing on July 7, allowing five earned runs. He struggled with his command, as he walked five Cleveland batters.

Like Tomlin, Moore has had a bit of an up-and-down season. He won three straight starts in early June, but he's just 1-1 in four starts since then. The 23-year-old rookie is 5-6 with a 4.42 ERA on the season.

"I've had nine days off between starts, so I've had some recollection of what's been going on," Moore said. "I've definitely been looking at some film, just trying to stay consistent with my delivery. They hit five doubles off me. I looked back at some tape and figured out a couple hot spots for the zone. I think a lot of the reasoning behind that was pitch selection."

Moore hasn't dropped consecutive decisions since losing on May 17 and May 28.

Indians: Struggling Hafner, Santana moved down in lineup
• Indians manager Manny Acta moved designated hitter Travis Hafner and catcher Carlos Santana down to sixth and seventh, respectively, in the batting order for Monday night's game against the Rays. Hafner and Santana usually occupy the four and five spots in the lineup.

Both Hafner and Santana have been struggling of late. Hafner is hitting just .154 (4-for-26) in eight games since coming off the disabled list on July 4, and Santana is hitting .185 (10-for-54) in his last 17 games.

Center fielder Michael Brantley and third baseman Jose Lopez batted fourth and fifth for the Indians on Monday.

"Ideally for us, Santana and Hafner should be hitting in the middle of our lineup," Acta said, "but they're not swinging the bat the way they're capable of right now, especially with runners in scoring position."

• The Indians released former first-round pick Trevor Crowe on Monday. Crowe was the 14th overall selection in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, and he played 205 games with the Indians from '09-11. Crowe struggled this season for Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus, hitting just .259 with three home runs and 13 RBIs in 42 games.

Rays: Joyce could return soon
• Outfielder Matt Joyce began his rehab assignment at Class A Charlotte on Sunday, and he performed well. He went 1-for-3 with an RBI double and a walk. Joyce, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a left external oblique strain, hasn't played since June 19.

Joyce was scheduled to play Monday and Tuesday, and, after being reevaluated, he could return to the Rays for Wednesday's game against the Indians.

"He's doing well," Maddon said. "He's making good progress. Hopefully we're gonna see him in the next couple days here."

Joyce is hitting .279 with 11 home runs and 34 RBIs in 62 games this season.

• First baseman Carlos Pena went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts on Monday night, his fifth consecutive game with two or more K's. Pena is hitting .182 (8-for-44) with 20 strikeouts in 12 games this month.

Worth noting
• Tomlin is 1-1 with a 3.79 ERA in three career starts against the Rays.

• Indians right fielder Shin-Soo Choo went 2-for-4 with two doubles on Monday, giving him an American League-high 29 two-base hits this season.

• Rays outfielder Luke Scott is hitting .304 (7-for-23) with two doubles, two home runs and six RBIs since he ended his 0-for-41 stretch on July 6. Comments