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

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, matching their franchise best through 35 games.

“(Kwan) leads us and when he goes, we all go,” Naylor said. “I don’t think we can thank him enough as an offense. He’s an incredible teammate, an incredible human.”

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 aboard.

“Our guys stepped up huge again,” Vogt said. “Kwanny is not missing mistakes and with Josh, it’s really impressive what he’s doing.”

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.

“We’ve had our chances, but our starting pitching has had some uncharacteristic outings of late,” Toronto manager John Schneider said. “Kind of the story of the season is we’re not hitting as many homers as we can and we’re giving up more than we should.”

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.

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

“The numbers obviously speak for themselves,” Kwan said. “It’s kind of cool.”

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 made his major league debut in center field in the eighth. He filled the roster spot of 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.

Guardians: C David Fry (right elbow inflammation) exited in the third. Vogt said he irritated his elbow on a throw to second base.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: RHP Chris Bassitt (6-6, 3.52 ERA) pitches Monday in the first game of a three-game series in Boston. Bassitt is 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA over his last six starts.

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

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