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CLEVELAND — Josh Tomlin delivered yet another quality start for Cleveland, Orlando Cabrera drove in four runs and the first-place Indians won their sixth straight at home, 8-3 on Saturday over the Baltimore Orioles, who have lost six in a row and are having trouble scoring.
Tomlin (3-0) gave up two runs — solo homers to Jake Fox and Luke Scott — and six hits in six innings.
Cleveland’s starters have been making it look easy. In the last 12 games, they’re 8-1 with a 1.91 ERA, not bad for a five-man rotation of virtual unknowns.
Shin-Soo Choo homered off Jeremy Guthrie (1-2) and Orlando Cabrera and Matt LaPorta had two RBIs apiece for the Indians, who are 10-4 and off to their best start in nine years. Travis Hafner and Travis Buck had three hits each for Cleveland.
It’s been a great start for the Indians and it could soon get better as the club is expected to activate center fielder Grady Sizemore from the disabled list in the next two days. The three-time all-star has been out nearly a year following knee injury.
Since opening 4-0, the Orioles have lost seven of nine and their six-game slide is the club’s longest since Buck Showalter took over as manager on Aug. 3. Baltimore has scored just 15 runs in the skid.
Tomlin won the only open spot in Cleveland’s rotation during spring training, and the right-hander’s shown no signs he’ll give it up. He coasted through the first few innings, allowing only the two homers before working in and out of a tricky situation in the fifth.
He gave up a leadoff homer to Scott that made it 6-2 and then made an error on Adam Jones’ bunt. The Orioles eventually loaded the bases with one out, but Tomlin got Brian Roberts to pop out and retired Nick Markakis on a groundout.
The Orioles made 6-3 in the seventh on Roberts’ RBI single, but failed to push more than one run across despite having runners at first and third with none out. Indians reliever Vinnie Pestano got Markakis to hit into a double play and struck out Derek Lee to preserve Cleveland’s three-run lead.
Cabrera made it swell to five runs in the seventh with his second homer.
As has been the case during their fast start, the Indians scored early. They took a 2-0 lead in the second off Guthrie on Cabrera’s groundout and LaPorta’s RBI double. Guthrie, though, kept the damage minimal by striking out Jake Hannahan and Michael Brantley with runners at second and third.
Guthrie couldn’t do much to stop the Indians in the third.
Cleveland scored four runs off the right-hander, who had gone 2-0 in four previous starts against his former team.
Choo, who has shown signs of busting out of some early season struggles at the plate, homered with one out. The Indians tacked on three more runs as Cabrera snapped an 0 for 16 slump with an RBI single, Buck hit a run-scoring double and LaPorta singled in his second run.
The Indians have scored 42 of their 75 runs in the first four innings.
NOTES: Steady rain followed by a thunderstorm delayed the start of the game for 2 hours, 3 minutes. ... Scott made a sliding catch in the left-field corner to rob Choo of extra bases in the seventh, and Jones made a leaping catch at the center-field wall in front of Cleveland’s bullpen to steal a double or better from Brantley in the fourth. ... According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Indians were the first team in AL history to win eight straight games after starting 0-2.