The Cleveland Indians showed off their power and pitching Sunday.
Melky Cabrera hit a grand slam to cap a six-run fourth inning, four pitchers combined on the team’s AL-leading 13th shutout and the Indians continued to roll through August with an 8-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
The Indians lead Minnesota by 12 games in the AL Central, but they aren’t biding their time with the postseason still several weeks away. Cleveland is a season-high 19 games over .500 (71-52), has won seven of eight and is 13-4 this month.
“They’re a well put-together club with a lot of weapons,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor, who has appeared in all but two of Cleveland’s 123 games, was given a rare day off. The offense didn’t miss its leadoff hitter, who is among the AL leaders in several offensive categories.
“It’s a fun day,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “I mean, you set out to win, but when you do it maybe in a different way, it helps. Not just for the win, but it helps your roster, it helps everybody feel like they’re doing something.”
Cabrera, batting right-handed against reliever Sean Gilmartin, hit a 1-1 pitch into the bleachers in left-center for the Indians’ ninth grand slam this season, moving them into a tie with Boston and Cincinnati for the major league lead.
Greg Allen, moved to the top spot in the order, had two hits, scored twice and extended his hitting streak to 12 games. Designated hitter Yandy Diaz, filling in for the injured Edwin Encarnacion, had an RBI double and drew a bases-loaded walk.
“Just look at today, you give Lindor a day off and your center fielder who had been hitting ninth bats leadoff and gets on base three times,” Showalter said.
Mike Clevinger (9-7) pitched six innings and is 4-0 in five career starts against Baltimore. The right-hander allowed seven hits and struck out seven.
Andrew Miller, Dan Otero and Adam Cimber finished off the shutout. Baltimore has been blanked 11 times this season.
Orioles starter Yefry Ramirez (1-5) allowed seven runs in three-plus innings. The rookie right-hander was removed after the first five hitters reached base in the fourth.
Baltimore has the worst record in baseball (37-87) and is 16-47 on the road.
Cleveland sent 11 batters to the plate in the fourth. Michael Brantley’s RBI double and a bases-loaded walk to Diaz scored the first two runs.
Erik Gonzalez and Allen singled to start the rally. Brantley followed wth a double for a 3-0 lead and Jose Ramirez was issued an intentional walk. Diaz walked on a 3-2 pitch that brought Gilmartin into the game.
Cabrera hit his fourth career grand slam and first since May 27, 2016, with the Chicago White Sox against Kansas City.
Clevinger’s fifth pickoff of the season helped him avoid first-inning trouble. Rookie Cedric Mullins started the game with a double and took third on Jonathan Villar’s one-out single. Clevinger then picked Villar off first and struck out Mark Trumbo.
“It stops the momentum a lot,” Clevinger said. “Getting a pickoff not only puts the momentum in our favor, but then you’ve got two outs and a fly ball gets you out of the inning versus turning into a sac fly.”
Clevinger allowed a baserunner in every inning. Baltimore’s best chance came with runners on first and third in the second, but Jace Peterson flied out and Caleb Joseph struck out.