Tyler Freeman’s defense helps Guardians down Reds

Steven Kwan doubled twice, had three hits and drove in two runs and Tyler Freeman made consecutive leaping catches at the outfield wall to lead the visiting Cleveland Guardians to a 5-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday.

Josh Naylor belted a tape-measure homer in the eighth inning for insurance, helping secure a win for Triston McKenzie (3-3). Naylor finished with two hits and three RBIs, while Bo Naylor had two hits and two runs.

Emanuel Clase allowed an RBI single to Jonathan India in the ninth but still earned his 20th save in 23 chances as the Guardians won for the 16th time in 21 games.

Clase drilled Blake Dunn in the helmet with a 101 mph fastball with two outs in the ninth to put the tying run on base before TJ Friedl lined out to end the game.

Cincinnati dropped its second straight after a seven-game win streak.

The Reds jumped in front in the first inning against McKenzie when Jeimer Candelario doubled home Friedl, who had singled.

The first inning could have been much worse for Cleveland and McKenzie, but Freeman robbed a pair of Cincinnati batters of extra-base hits in back-to-back plate appearances.

With Candelario on second, Spencer Steer drove a ball to straightaway center and into a bright, setting sun. Freeman leaped and gloved the ball at the top of the wall.

Jake Fraley followed with a deep drive to right-center that appeared to be headed over the yellow stripe of the top of the wall for a two-run homer. However, Freeman reached up at the last moment and brought the ball down for the third out.

Freeman was cheered loudly by his teammates as they came off the field and by the many Cleveland fans in attendance at Great American Ball Park.

After a scoreless first inning from opener Brent Suter, the Guardians knocked reliever Nick Martinez (2-4) from the game in the third, scoring three times. Martinez walked Brayan Rocchio before allowing three consecutive hits, including a two-run double from Kwan and a run-scoring single by Naylor that put Cleveland up 3-1.

The Reds got a run back in the sixth, when Steer singled home Elly De La Cruz, ending McKenzie’s evening. The right-hander gave up two runs on four hits over 5 1/3 innings, striking out four and walking two.

Naylor crushed a Fernando Cruz pitch 425 feet to the bleachers in right for his 17th homer in the eighth and a 4-2 Cleveland lead. A Naylor groundout drove in the Guardians’ final run in the ninth.

–Field Level Media