Cleveland's unheralded American League MVP candidate homered in the first inning, and starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco's gutsy effort made those runs stand up as the Indians earned a 2-1 victory, their sixth straight and eighth in their last 10 games.
Carrasco (15-6, 3.33 ERA) labored through seven shutout innings, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out six. He retired the last 10 batters he faced. Carrasco is 7-1 with a 1.73 ERA since returning from the disabled list July 6, and moved into a four-way tie for the A.L. lead in wins.
Ramirez again tied Boston's J.D. Martinez for the big-league lead in home runs with his 37th when he sent a 3-1 pitch from Orioles starter David Hess 387 feet into the seats with Michael Brantley aboard in the first. Ramirez leads the majors with both 13 homers and 34 RBI in the first inning this year.
But Hess (2-7, 5.95) rebounded to hold the Tribe's offense in check for the next five innings. He worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the third and wriggled out of trouble with Brantley and Ramirez on base and one out in the fifth. The Indians stranded six and were 0-for-3 at the plate with runners in scoring position.
Andrew Miller walked the first batter he faced in the eighth inning before Adam Cimber came on and surrendered an RBI single to Trey Mancini that cut Cleveland's lead in half.
Cody Allen survived a ninth inning scare after walking Baltimore's Renato Nunez with one out. Allen fought back to retire Tim Beckham on a pop out to left field and Joey Rickard on strikes for his 24th save.
What it means
Cleveland's six consecutive victories are one short of the team's longest win streak of the season (June 17-24). The Tribe's 70 wins are two ahead of the team's pace through 121 games from a season ago.
Hess threw 97 pitches, 53 (55 percent) for strikes. Carrasco threw 116 pitches, 76 (65 percent) for strikes.
First things first
Ramirez's 34 first-inning RBI are the most in the American League since Carlos Guillen had 37 in 2007 for the Detroit Tigers.
Members of the 1995 Cleveland Indians at the ballpark on Friday included Kenny Lofton, Carlos Baerga, Sandy Alomar (Indians first base coach), Alvaro Espinoza, Wayne Kirby (Baltimore first base coach), Paul Assenmacher and Chad Ogea.
The Orioles have named rookie right-hander Yefry Ramirez their starting pitcher for Sunday's 1:10 contest at Progressive Field against Cleveland's Mike Clevinger. Ramirez is 1-4 with a 5.40 ERA in eight starts (nine appearances) for Baltimore.
Thanks for coming
The Indians and Orioles drew 28,264 fans to Progressive Field on an overcast Friday night. First pitch was at 7:10 p.m. with a game-time temperature of 77 degrees.
The series continues at 4:10 p.m. Saturday with Cleveland right-hander Adam Plutko (4-2, 4.75 ERA) facing Baltimore righty Alex Cobb (3-15, 5.31). SportsTime Ohio, FS1 and WLKR 95.3 FM will carry the game.
Hall of Famer Jim Thome will be honored in pregame ceremonies beginning at approximately 3:27 p.m. The Indians are encouraging fans to be in their seats by 3:15 for the festivities.