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Tribe rotation hopeful Tomlin silences Brewers

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Josh Tomlin is trying not to worry too much about the competition for the lone vacancy in the Indians' rotation. The right-hander is focused on the fact that he is healthy after missing most of last year while coming back from elbow surgery.

Tomlin certainly looked to be at full strength on Sunday afternoon, when the right-hander spun four shutout innings to help Cleveland earn a 4-2 Cactus League victory over a split Brewers squad. Milwaukee starter Wily Peralta pitched into the fourth inning and allowed three runs.

"I really don't think about it," Tomlin said of the competition. "I know there's a lot of talk about it this year. Every time we talk to ya'll, it's about that fifth spot. But I think we're all in this for the same goal, and that's to win a World Series. Whatever that takes, whether there's competition for that spot or not, we're all working towards the same goal.

"I feel pretty blessed to be in this situation right now, competing for that spot. The main thing I take out of these outings right now is how I feel the next day and how I feel in the outing. So far, so good."

Manager Terry Francona agreed.

I thought he pitched as advertised and how he needs to pitch," Francona said. "He threw strikes. He kept the ball down. He holds runners. He, basically, doesn't beat himself. I think the more he gets removed from Tommy John, the more you see him feeling good about himself and attacking the zone. His future is really bright."

Tomlin -- up against Aaron Harang, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer for the last spot in the Tribe's starting staff -- finished with five strikeouts, while allowing three hits and one walk. The first-inning free pass to Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy snapped a streak of 20 straight innings without a walk for Indians pitchers.

Told of that streak, Tomlin cracked a smile.

"I know," said Tomlin, who had zero walks in 29 1/3 innings last season between the Minors and Majors. "I've got to cut down on the walks."

The Indians (9-1-1) have now gone 10 consecutive games without a loss.

Cleveland broke through against Peralta (projected to be Milwaukee's fourth starter) in the first inning, when Asdrubal Cabrera led things off with a double. Two batters later, Cabrera crossed home plate on a single to center field from Tribe third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall.

In a two-run second inning, Justin Sellers contributed an RBI single for the Indians. Matt Carson singled in the sixth inning and later scored when Brewers left fielder Mitch Haniger misplayed a fly ball off the bat of Murphy for a costly error.

Peralta ended the afternoon with three runs yielded on four hits in 3 1/3 innings, during which he struck out two and walked two.

Up next: Hard-throwing right-hander Danny Salazar is scheduled to make his Cactus League debut on Monday, when the Indians host the Angels in a 4:05 p.m. ET tilt at Goodyear Ballpark. The game will be available on MLB.TV and via an exclusive free audio webcast.

Salazar, who started the American League Wild Card Game for the Tribe last season, is slated to throw two innings. Bauer is scheduled to follow with three innings. For the first time this spring, Major League Baseball's revised instant-replay system will be available for the Indians.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.
Read More: Cleveland Indians, Asdrubal Cabrera, Josh Tomlin