CLEVELAND: The Indians could not muster a hit, walk or anything else against Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Jason Hammel through five innings on Saturday night at Progressive Field.

Then came the sixth and seventh innings when everything changed. Roberto Perez, Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Santana hit home runs and the Indians rolled to a 4-0 victory over the Royals before a sellout crowd of 34,273.

The sold-out game was the Indians’ ninth of the season, their most in the regular season since 2007.

The win was the third in a row for the Indians (72-56) and increased their lead in the American League Central Division to 6½ games over the Minnesota Twins (66-63) and eight games over the Royals (64-64).

Mike Clevinger pitched six shutout innings to get the win and improve to 7-5 this season. Bryan Shaw, Dan Otero and Cody Allen each worked a scoreless inning to preserve the shutout, the 14th this season for the Indians.

The bottom two hitters in the Indians lineup broke up Hammel’s perfect game with one out in the sixth inning. Bradley Zimmer hit a single up the middle and then Perez smacked a line drive over the fence in left-center field for a two-run home run.

Hammel (6-10) retired the first 16 batters he faced, including four on strikeouts, before Zimmer and Perez came along in the sixth.

Encarnacion greeted Hammel with a solo home run over the fence in left-center field to open the seventh inning and, after Jay Bruce grounded out, Santana lined a home run over the fence in right field.

It was Encarnacion’s 30th home run this season. The Dominican Republic slugger is the only active major-league player who has hit 30 or more homers in each of the past six seasons.

Clevinger escaped a couple of jams in his six innings on the mound. He tied a career-high with nine strikeouts, walked two and scattered four hits.

The Royals loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth inning, but Clevinger worked out of the situation when second baseman Jose Ramirez ran down a pop-up that Alcides Escobar hit into shallow center field. Melky Cabrera and Eric Hosmer each hit singles in the inning and Mike Moustakas reached base on a walk.

Clevinger opened the fifth inning by striking out Cheslor Cuthbert and Alex Gordon, and then allowed a single to Whit Merrifield. Lorenzo Cain followed with a line drive to left-center field that appeared to be headed toward the fence. Zimmer broke to his right from his center field position, sprinted, leaped and made a tremendous catch with his left hand to retire the side.

Clevinger watched Zimmer’s catch and then raised his arms into the air in amazement as he stood with his mouth agape. Clevinger then smiled and clapped his pitching hand and glove hand together.

Zimmer wasn’t done running as he hit an infield single in the seventh inning, stole second base and advanced to third base on an errant throw before being stranded.

Indians third baseman Giovanny Urshela also flashed the leather twice in the eighth inning to record two outs.

Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or mbeaven@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ.