July 22nd, 2024

Steven Kwan, Josh Naylor hit solo homers, AL Central-leading Guardians beat Blue Jays 6-5

By Brian Dulik, The Associated Press on June 23, 2024.

CLEVELAND (AP) – Steven Kwan and Josh Naylor hit solo homers as Cleveland scored five straight runs in the third and fourth innings, helping the AL Central-leading Guardians beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-5 on Sunday.

Cleveland won its fifth straight and is a season-high 23 games over .500. The Guardians and rookie manager Stephen Vogt have the best home record in the majors at 26-9 and extended their divisional lead to eight games over Minnesota.

Tim Herrin (3-0) was awarded the win with a scoreless fourth. Emmanuel Clase picked up his AL-best 24th save, retiring George Springer for the final out after putting the potential go-ahead run on base.

Rookie Spencer Horwitz belted two solo homers and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had a two-run blast for Toronto, which has lost six in a row for the first time since May 19-24, 2021. The Blue Jays were swept in back-to-back series for the first time since 2019.

Kwan went 2 for 5 and is hitting .390, but is 11 plate appearances shy of qualifying for the league leaderboard. He has a .463 average since May 31.

Naylor, who equaled his career high with his 20th homer, also singled, doubled and scored twice.

The Guardians took a 4-3 lead with three runs in the third — one before a 40-minute rain delay, two after it – that were charged to Blue Jays starter Yusei Kikuchi (4-7).

Kwan and Naylor tacked on solo shots in the fourth, one off Zach Pop and the second off Brendon Little, making it 6-3.

José Ramírez scored two runs in the first three innings for Cleveland. Angel Martínez singled in the second for his first major league hit.

Blue Jays outfielder Steward Berroa was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo and made his major league debut in center field in the eighth. The 25-year-old leads the International League with 29 stolen bases.

Berroa fills the roster spot vacated by Orelvis Martinez, who was suspended 80 games by MLB after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: SS Bo Bichette (right calf strain), who was placed on the 10-day injured list on June 15, is likely to be activated Tuesday. “He’ll be a full-go tomorrow working out in Boston,” manager John Schneider said.

Guardians: C David Fry (right elbow inflammation) was replaced by Bo Naylor at the start of the third. Fry has made 41 starts, splitting them between left field, catcher, first base, designated hitter and right field.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: RHP Chris Bassitt (6-6, 3.52 ERA) pitches Monday in the opener of a three-game series in Boston. Since losing to Tampa Bay on May 17, Bassitt has a 3-0 record and 1.50 ERA in six starts.

Guardians: RHP Tanner Bibee (5-2, 3.65 ERA) gets the call Monday in the first game of a three-game set in Baltimore. Bibee struck out a career-high 12 in six scoreless innings against Seattle on June 19.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

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