Bo Naylor's pinch-hit, 3-run homer sends AL Central-leading Guardians to 5-4 win over Giants

CLEVELAND (AP) — Bo Naylor conneced for a pinch-hit, three-run homer in the sixth inning to give the Cleveland Guardians a 5-4 win over the San Francisco Giants on Sunday and another home series win for the AL Central leaders.

Stepping in for Austin Hedges, Naylor connected with two outs off Sean Hjelle (3-3) as the Guardians improved to 30-11 at Progressive Field — the majors' best home mark — and 11-0-1 in series at home.

With the Giants leading 3-2, Andrés Giménez and Tyler Freeman singled with two outs, and Naylor fell behind 0-2 before belting an inside 2-2 pitch over the wall in right for his first career pinch-hit homer.

As Naylor rounded the bases, his older brother, Josh, came on to the track outside Cleveland's dugout to cheer.

“He’s usually one of the few people that I hear yelling through the crowd,” the younger Naylor said. “Just one of the many reasons that I’m very grateful to have him.”

Bo Naylor is batting ,311 (14 of 45) with two homers and 11 RBIs in 15 games since June 19.

“I’m sure Bo is the first one to tell you he’s not pleased or satisfied with the year he's having offensively,” manager Stephen Vogt said. “But he’s made such huge strides the last three, four weeks now being willing to make an adjustment in season and to stay ready. He was so prepared for that at-bat.”

Cade Smith (4-1) worked the sixth, and Tim Herrin and Hunter Gaddis an inning each. Cleveland closer — and expected All-Star reserve — Emmanuel Clase gave up a run before notching his league-leading 27th save.

Clase has given up just four earned runs all season, and his 0.85 ERA is the lowest among baseball's relievers. The right-hander has been dominant by design.

“It has been the focus from Day One — just to execute every single pitch,” Clase said through a translator. “It means a lot fewer pitches, so I think that’s the result of what we’ve trying to do.”

Michael Conforto hit a two-run homer for the Giants, who have lost seven of their last eight day games. San Francisco went 3-3 on a trip to Atlanta and Cleveland.

“I thought we played well,” said manager Bob Melvin. “We were in every game, and when we have a lead late, we expect to win. A .500 trip and would have liked to have been one game better.”

Cleveland's Steven Kwan went 1 for 4, dropping his major league-leading average to .364.

The Guardians didn't get their first hit off rookie Hayden Birdsong until the fourth and then got four straight to score twice.

Josh Naylor hit an RBI single, rookie Daniel Schneemann had an RBI double and Cleveland pulled to 3-2 with none out. Birdsong, though, escaped more damage with a strikeout, a putout at the plate and pickoff at first.

Conforto, who came in batting .323 with eight extra-base hits in his previous 13 games, gave the Giants a 2-0 lead in the second with a 440-foot homer into the right-field seats.


The Giants are honoring Willie Mays with a public tribute on Monday at Oracle Park. The Hall of Famer died on May 18. He was 93.


The Guardians, who have struggled with attendance in recent years, eclipsed one million fans in their 41st home game, the quickest Cleveland has drawn one million fans since 2008.


José Ramírez's double in the fourth inning was his 621st extra-base hit, moving past Hall of Famer Jim Thome for third most in club history. Ramírez only trails Tris Speaker (667) and Earl Averill (724).


Guardians: OF Chase DeLauter (foot), one of Cleveland's top prospects, has progressed in his rehab and should be playing at one of the club's minor league affiliates after the All-Star break. DeLauter raised his profile in spring training when he batted .520 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 13 games.


Giants: LHP Blake Snell (0-3, 9.51 ERA) returns from the injured list to start the opener of a three-game home series on Tuesday against Toronto. Snell has been out since June 3 with a strained left groin. He pitched five no-hit innings in his most recent rehab start for Triple-A Sacramento.

Guardians: RHP Gavin Williams (0-1, 11.25) makes his second start of the season in the first of four games at Detroit. Williams only made his season debut last week after being sidelined with a sore elbow.