CLEVELAND — Josh Tomlin couldn’t recall the last time he won in the major leagues.
He’s sure to remember his victory Tuesday night.
Cleveland’s right-hander earned his first win since 2012 after he pitched into the seventh in the Indians’ 4-2 win over the Minnesota Twins.
"This one, that’s what I remember," he said after allowing one run and four hits in 6 2-3 innings.
Tomlin hadn’t won since July 5, 2012, when he defeated Tampa Bay. He had Tommy John surgery the following month and missed most of last year while recovering.
Called up from Triple-A Columbus before the game, he admitted to feeling some nerves as he took the mound.
"I definitely had some anxiety going before the game, but a good anxiety," Tomlin said. "It was the same anxiety I’ve gotten in years past."
Tomlin (1-0) struck out four and walked one.
The right-hander took a two-hit shutout into the seventh before Chris Colabello homered. Tomlin left after a single and a foul out, and received an ovation from the crowd of 9,621. Tomlin threw 93 pitches.
Tomlin learned to take nothing for granted as he went through the yearlong process following surgery.
"There’s been a couple of guys around the league who had to have a second one before they got back out there," he said. "That’s always in the back of your mind. To be able to not have any reservations about the elbow was pretty special."
Indians manager Terry Francona had some simple advice for Tomlin before the game.
"I said, ‘Hey man, enjoy the hell out of this,"’ Francona said.
Bryan Shaw pitched the ninth for his first save. Eduardo Escobar’s two-out double cut the lead to two, but pinch-hitter Josmil Pinto popped out.
Samuel Deduno (0-2) allowed four runs in five innings in his first start of the season.
Deduno replaced Mike Pelfrey in the Twins’ rotation. Pelfrey was ineffective in five starts before going on the disabled list with a groin injury. Deduno had shoulder surgery in September and made seven relief appearances to begin this season.
The Indians scored twice in the first on an RBI single by Michael Brantley and a fielding error by Colabello at first base.
Yan Gomes’ RBI double and Nick Swisher’s run-scoring single in the second made it 4-0.
Tomlin pitched with a sore right elbow for most of the 2012 season. His last start in the majors came on July 27, when he allowed eight runs in four innings in an 11-0 loss to the Twins.
He made one relief appearance with the Indians last year, pitching two scoreless innings in September.
Tomlin pitched well in spring training, but was sent to Columbus in the team’s final cuts. He was 2-1 in five starts and had pitched 20 consecutive innings when he was recalled. Tomlin was called up after Carlos Carrasco went 0-3 in four starts.
"Their guy was real good," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Give credit to him."
Twins star Joe Mauer missed his second straight game because of lower back spasms. The six-time All-Star said following the game that he won’t play Wednesday, but hopes to resume light baseball activities.
Indians centre fielder and leadoff hitter Michael Bourn was out of the lineup for the third straight game with a tight left hamstring, but is optimistic he’ll be able to play again in a couple of days.
NOTES: Indians closer John Axford, who allowed game-winning home runs Sunday and Monday, was given the night off after pitching three straight days. Francona still has confidence in the right-hander. "He’s our closer," Francona said. "When you start running from guys as opposed to trying to get them back to where they need to be, that can be unsettling for a team." … Mauer is a career .342 hitter with nine homers and 60 RBIs against Cleveland.