Josh Tomlin didn't remember his last win. What he did remember was the feeling, the warmth and satisfaction of it.

It came back to him Tuesday night in a cold ballpark in downtown Cleveland in front of just 9,621 fans. Tomlin, in his first big-league start in 21 months, threw 6 2/3 innings in the Indians' 4-2 victory over the Twins.

"I get some anxiety before the game, but it was the good anxiety," said Tomlin.

He allowed just one run, on a long home run by Chris Colabello in the seventh inning, while striking out four, walking one and allowing four hits in 93 pitches.

What did the home run come on?

"A fastball that wasn't fast enough," said Tomlin.

Tomlin underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Aug. 22, 2012. He never lost his sense of humor or his smile through the long rehab in Goodyear Ariz., last year's comeback through the minors and his demotion to Class AAA Columbus at the end of spring training.

Tommy John surgery has come so far, and been so successful, that some people think it's a snap. A one-year paid vacation.

Not so.

"It takes a long time and there are some guys around the league who have to go through it twice," said Tomlin.

Not exactly a pleasant thought when you're playing long toss at 60 feet for what seems like the 150th day in a row. But Tomlin made it, at least through Tuesday night, as the Indians won for just the third time in their last 11 games.

Tomlin (1-0, 1.35) said he has a little more velocity than he did before the surgery. Sometimes that's the case with ligament replacement surgery. But velocity isn't Tomlin's game. Throwing strikes is and that's what he did Tuesday.