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Josh Naylor’s 17th homer helps lift Guardians to 5-3 win over Reds

CINCINNATI (AP) — Josh Naylor hit his 17th homer and Tyler Freeman made two impressive defensive plays, helping the Cleveland Guardians beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-3 on Tuesday night in the opener of the Ohio Cup series.

Steven Kwan hit a two-run double for AL Central-leading Cleveland, which earned its third consecutive win. Triston McKenzie (3-3) pitched 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball, and Emmanuel Clase worked a shaky ninth for his 20th save.

The Guardians went ahead to stay with three runs in the third against Nick Martinez (2-4). Bo Naylor and Kwan hit consecutive RBI doubles, and Josh Naylor added a run-scoring single.

CINCINNATI, OHIO - JUNE 11: Josh Naylor #22 of the Cleveland Guardians hits a RBI single in the third inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on June 11, 2024 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - JUNE 11: Josh Naylor #22 of the Cleveland Guardians hits a RBI single in the third inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on June 11, 2024 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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The Reds had jumped in front on Jeimer Candelario’s RBI double in the first. But they lost out on a chance for more because of back-to-back spectacular catches by Freeman in center.

First, Freeman ran down Spencer Steer’s flyball against the wall in deep center. Then he made a leaping grab to rob Jake Fraley of a homer, ending the threat.

Cincinnati trimmed Cleveland’s lead to 3-2 when Elly De La Cruz walked, advanced on a groundout and scored on Steer’s single in the sixth.

But Josh Naylor responded with a 425-foot drive to right against Fernando Cruz in the eighth, and then drove in another run with a bases-loaded groundout in the ninth.

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Clase allowed a two-out RBI single by Jonathan India and hit Blake Dunn in the helmet with a 101-mph cutter before retiring TJ Friedl on a liner to shortstop, ending the game.

Cincinnati manager David Bell used seven pitchers. Brent Suter tossed a scoreless first inning as the opener.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Guardians: Manager Stephen Vogt said Ben Lively will make his next start after the right-hander underwent some tests because of some “tightening” he felt while pitching Saturday night in Miami.

Reds: INF Christian Encarnacion-Strand (wrist) will be re-evaluated in the next couple days. He could need season-ending surgery, Bell said.

WORTH NOTING

The Reds sent infielder Noelvi Marte to Triple-A Louisville for a 15-game rehab assignment. Marte was suspended before the season for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. One of Cincinnati’s top prospects, Marte is eligible to play in the majors again June 27.

UP NEXT

The Guardians send right-hander Tanner Bibee to the mound to face Reds lefty Nick Lodolo in the second of the two-game series on Wednesday.

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