Cleveland Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin has gone from unbeatable at the start of the season to winless in August.
And that potent Indians offense is suddenly struggling to score runs.
Tomlin allowed two three-run homers, the first to Carlos Gomez making his debut for the AL-best Texas Rangers, and gave up eight runs without making it out of the fifth inning as the Indians lost 9-0 in the opener of a four-game series matching division leaders Thursday night.
"My job is to give us a chance to win, and right now I'm not doing my job," said Tomlin, 0-5 with a 10.80 ERA in his five August starts.
While Tomlin (11-8) failed to get past the fifth inning for the fourth time this month, the Indians managed only two singles in eight innings against left-hander Cole Hamels (14-4), who struck out eight without a walk.
"We haven't swung the bat the last four games, but I think we're third in the league in runs," manager Terry Francona said. "It's not realistic that you're going to hit the ball out of the ballpark all year. It happens. Just got to fight through it together. We will."
Cleveland (72-54) was shut out for the fourth time this season, and that came after the AL Central leader had been held to exactly one run in each of its three games at Oakland earlier this week — the opener of that series being a 1-0 victory.
"You keep working," second baseman Jason Kipnis said. "I wouldn't be surprised if we come out of it here soon."
Hamels retired 19 batters in a row after Francisco Lindor's solid two-out single to left in the first. The only other baserunner for the Indians against the lefty was Carlos Santana after a leadoff single in the eighth, though he was stranded at second after advancing on a passed ball.
"Had all pitches, all locations in play. Had the swing and miss," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He had the ability to do what he wanted to."
After Gomez's homer in the second, Adrian Beltre and Rougned Odor also homered for the Rangers (75-53), who matched their largest winning margin of the season.
Tomlin is scheduled to start once more before the calendar turns to September, next week at home against Minnesota. The right-handed Texas native was 7-0 through eight starts and 9-1 at the end of June, but now hasn't won since July 30.
"He was crisp," Francona said. "He made a bad pitch to Gomez, and unfortunately it's three (runs)."
Hamels is 21-5 in his 38 starts since the Rangers acquired him last season when he was coming off a no-hitter in his last start for the Philadelphia Phillies. His eight innings Thursday were the longest scoreless outing for a Texas starter this season.
Indians 1B Mike Napoli had two errors in the fifth, one throwing and one fielding. ... Tony Barnette pitched a scoreless ninth, after giving up a leadoff walk, to wrap up only the third shutout this season for Texas. ... The Rangers had eight hits, one each by eight different players. The only starter without a hit was Carlos Beltran, who is in an 0-for-28 slide.
Gomez made his Rangers debut five days after signing a minor league deal with the team and playing three games at Triple-A Round Rock. The 30-year-old two-time All-Star outfielder hit .210 with five homers in 85 games this season with the Houston Astros before being designated for assignment and then last week given his unconditional release.
Indians: Instead of activating reliever Tommy Hunter from the disabled list next week as planned, the Indiansreleased the right-hander who has been out since the All-Star break with after a back issue.
Indians: All-Star RHP Corey Kluber (13-8), the 2014 AL Cy Young winner, is 5-0 with a 1.78 ERA his last eight starts.
Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (8-9) is 7-1 with a 2.36 ERA in 13 home starts this season.