The Indians in pursuit of a playoff spot helped themselves with another dominant performance by Scott Kazmir.

Nod if you saw that coming in spring training. Now feel free to take a lie-detector test.

The surprising Indians and their shockingly effective lefty cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday night at Progressive Field. Kazmir struck out 10 in seven scoreless innings Michael Brantley hit a two-run homer and Asdrubal Cabrera went 3-for-4 as the Tribe won for the eighth time in 10 games.

The Indians (85-70) remain in the second wild-card slot percentage points ahead of Texas. They trail wild-card leader Tampa Bay by percentage points; the Rays defeated Baltimore earlier in the day.

The DisAstros (51-104) have lost eight in a row and 104 of their last 154.

In the opener of the four-game series Thursday the Indians needed a Matt Carson walkoff single to prevail 2-1 in 11 innings. On Friday they managed three singles and one double but escaped 2-1 in a game called after 6 ½ innings because of rain. In both instances Houston's bad offense and defense assisted the hosts.

On Saturday the Indians had notched four hits by the sixth batter of the first inning and four runs by the second batter of the fourth. The remainder of the game was a formality.

The Tribe's only legitimate concerns were bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. avoiding a flying bat in the second; Kazmir working off a grounder to the right arm in the fifth; and catcher Yan Gomes working off a hit-by-pitch on the right arm in the fifth. Gomes wore a sleeve in the next inning.

The Indians fed off the mega-watt electricity generated by a paid attendance of 26611. The crowd was into it from before first pitch.