Cliff Lee won his seventh straight decision and the Indians had 17 hits in a 12-4 rout of the reeling Twins on Sunday night, stretching their winning streak to seven games.
Cleveland maintained its 1½-game lead over the New York Yankees in the AL wild-card race by winning for the 18th time in 23 games. The Indians also pulled within 5½ games of first-place Chicago in the Central.
"We don't worry about catching (Chicago), we just go out to win our game," said Coco Crisp, who tied a career high with four hits. "We respect other teams, but we're only concerned with what we do."
Cleveland is the closest it has been to the White Sox since April 20. The Indians have gained 9½ games on the leaders since being 15 back on July 25, going 31-12 during that stretch.
Lee (16-4), unbeaten in his last 11 starts, allowed two runs and four hits over six innings. He is 10-1 in 18 starts since June 6 and his .800 overall winning percentage trails only St. Louis' Chris Carpenter (21-4, .840) in the majors.
"I'm just part of a very good team," said Lee. "I think we've got what it takes to make the playoffs. Once we get there, we can be a force.
"The fans tonight were great. They're starting to realize what's going on here."
Sizemore brought the crowd of 38,564 to its feet, chanting "Grady, Grady," with a leaping catch against the wall in center to rob pinch-hitter Luis Rodriguez of extra bases in the eighth.
"Grady's a fantastic young player," manager Eric Wedge said.
Sizemore held his left shoulder after crashing into the wall, but waved off assistance.
"It's a little sore, but we won and that's all that matters," Sizemore said.
Carlos Silva (9-8) left after one inning with a sore right knee, a condition he has battled all season and put him on the disabled list in April. He made only 18 pitches, yielding four hits and four runs in the shortest of his 61 career starts for Minnesota.
Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said Silva's season could be over.
"We're looking at the possibility of getting this thing cleaned up," he said. "He's pitched on it long enough."
Sizemore tripled to center on Silva's second pitch and Crisp lined the next one into the right-field corner for an RBI double. Crisp took third on a second-pitch single by Jhonny Peralta and scored on a sacrifice fly by Travis Hafner.
Martinez then lined a 1-1 pitch from Silva over the wall in center for his 19th homer and 4-0 lead.
"It just happened," Crisp said of the outburst. "We didn't collectively sit down and say we were going to hit the first pitch we saw or anything."
Joe Mays fared worse in one inning of relief, giving up six runs in the second as the Indians took a 10- lead. Sizemore hit a two-run homer, his 19th, Hafner had an RBI single and Belliard capped the rally with a three-run shot, his 13th.
"They came out and smoked the baseball," Gardenhire said. "Every pitch we threw that was up, they whacked it."
Peralta's RBI single off Matt Guerrier made it 11-0 in the third.
Jacque Jones' two-run homer in the fourth, his 20th, got the Twins within 11-2.
Sizemore singled home a run in the sixth and the Twins got two unearned runs in the seventh off Fernando Cabrera.
The three-game sweep sent the reeling Twins to their fifth loss in six games and dropped the three-time defending AL Central champions 15 games behind Chicago.
|Cliff Lee improves to 16-4 after yielding just two runs on four hits and one walk over six innings. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Shannon Stewart, LF||3||0||1||0||0||2||1||.278|
|Michael Ryan, LF||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||.243|
|Juan Castro, 2B||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.273|
|a- Luis Rivas, PH-2B||1||0||0||0||1||0||2||.245|
|Lew Ford, CF||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.263|
|Jason Tyner, CF||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.250|
|Matthew LeCroy, DH||3||1||1||0||0||0||2||.266|
|b- Luis Rodriguez, PH-DH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.255|
|Jacque Jones, RF||2||1||1||2||0||0||0||.254|
|Terry Tiffee, 3B||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.206|
|Michael Cuddyer, 3B-RF||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.253|
|Justin Morneau, 1B||4||1||2||0||0||0||0||.240|
|Chris Heintz, C||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.250|
|Jason Bartlett, SS||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.260|
|a-walked for Castro in the 6th|
|b-flied out for LeCroy in the 8th|
|HR - Jacque Jones (20, Lee)|
|RBI - Michael Ryan (11), Jacque Jones 2 (64)|
|2-OUT RBI - Michael Ryan (5), Jacque Jones 2 (16)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|Carlos Silva (L,9-8)||1||4||4||4||0||0||1||3.44|
|Pitches-Strikes - Carlos Silva 18-13, Joe Mays 35-20, Matt Guerrier 73-41, Travis Bowyer 44-27, Terry Mulholland 11-6|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Mays 2-1, Matt Guerrier 2-4, Travis Bowyer 3-2, Terry Mulholland 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Carlos Silva 7, Joe Mays 9, Matt Guerrier 17, Travis Bowyer 9, Terry Mulholland 3|
|Grady Sizemore, CF||4||3||3||3||1||0||0||.289|
|Franklin Gutierrez, CF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Coco Crisp, LF||5||2||4||1||0||0||1||.306|
|Jhonny Peralta, SS||5||1||3||1||0||1||2||.288|
|Travis Hafner, DH||3||1||1||2||1||2||3||.304|
|Victor Martinez, C||3||2||2||2||1||0||0||.293|
|a- Josh Bard, PH-C||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.183|
|Ron Belliard, 2B||4||1||2||3||0||0||3||.286|
|b- Ramon Vazquez, PH-2B||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.218|
|Ben Broussard, 1B||5||1||1||0||0||1||1||.251|
|Aaron Boone, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||.240|
|Jose Hernandez, 3B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.229|
|Casey Blake, RF||4||1||0||0||1||0||3||.249|
|a-flied out for Martinez in the 7th|
|b-grounded out for Belliard in the 7th|
|2B - Coco Crisp 2 (38, Silva, Mays)|
|3B - Grady Sizemore (11, Silva)|
|HR - Grady Sizemore (19, Mays), Victor Martinez (19, Silva), Ron Belliard (13, Mays)|
|SF - Travis Hafner (4)|
|RBI - Grady Sizemore 3 (76), Coco Crisp (61), Jhonny Peralta (70), Travis Hafner 2 (88), Victor Martinez 2 (72), Ron Belliard 3 (66)|
|2-OUT RBI - Grady Sizemore (34), Jhonny Peralta (34), Travis Hafner (40), Ron Belliard 3 (26)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - Peralta-Belliard-Broussard, Peralta-Broussard, Peralta-Broussard|
|E - Aaron Boone (15, misplayed grounder), Jhonny Peralta (16, misplayed grounder)|
|Cliff Lee (W,16-4)||6||4||2||2||1||2||1||3.69|
|Pitches-Strikes - Cliff Lee 71-49, Fernando Cabrera 14-10, David Riske 13-8, Rafael Betancourt 7-4|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cliff Lee 7-8, Fernando Cabrera 2-2, David Riske 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Cliff Lee 22, Fernando Cabrera 7, David Riske 3, Rafael Betancourt 4|
|Attendance - 38564|
|Game Time - 2:59|
|Temperature - 75|
|Umpires - Home - Paul Schrieber, First Base - Mike Reilly, Second Base - Andy Fletcher, Third Base - Jeff Kellogg|