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Steven Kwan hit the first homer of his breakout rookie season, Franmil Reyes had three hits and an RBI, and the Cleveland Guardians beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-5 Thursday night.
Kwan’s two-run shot off José Berríos tied it at 2 in the third, beginning a string of six straight runs by Cleveland. Reyes scored the go-ahead run on Amed Rosario’s grounder in the fourth.
“This whole thing is crazy, it’s been a month of pure ecstasy for me,” said Kwan, who is fifth in the American League with a .328 average. “I never try to hit homers, so it’s super special again. I’m going to get this ball decorated. That’ll be pretty cool.”
Guardians right-hander Aaron Civale (1-2) struck out eight in 5 2/3 innings, surrendering four runs on six hits. Emmanuel Clase worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his fifth save in six chances.
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Vladimir Guerrero Jr. belted a two-run homer in the first and Alejandro Kirk added a solo shot in the seventh for Toronto. Bo Bichette had three hits and Zack Collins’ two-run double in the sixth chased Civale.
Kirk’s leadoff homer off Nick Sandlin sliced Cleveland’s lead to 6-5, but the Blue Jays failed to push a runner into scoring position in the eighth against Bryan Shaw and did not reach base against Clase.
“That’s the brand of baseball we play, always picking each other up,” Civale said. “It was a great game offensively, pitching and on defense.”
Berríos (2-1) allowed a season-high six runs in 4 2/3 innings, losing for the first time since Sept. 24, seven starts ago. The right-hander gave up eight hits and did not have a strikeout in his 16th career start against the Guardians.
“José was fine, he didn’t get hit that hard off the bat,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. “I think a lot of it was Cleveland having seen him so much. You’ve got to give them credit for slapping the ball to left.”
Kwan was named AL Rookie of the Month in April after batting .354 with 10 runs in 15 games. Reyes had three hits in the first five innings after entering with a .157 average.
“I felt very good at the plate today, not trying to do too much, and that was huge,” Reyes said. “I was able to do something great for the team.”
Guardians third baseman José Ramírez, who leads the majors with 29 RBIs, singled in the seventh to snap an 0-for-11 slump.
Toronto began a nine-game, 11-day road trip that continues against the Yankees and Rays. Its next game at Rogers Centre is May 16 against Seattle.
Blue Jays right-hander Casey Lawrence, whose last appearance in the majors was four years ago with Seattle, worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
WEATHER OR NOT
Four of the Guardians’ nine home games have been played in doubleheaders after three were postponed due to inclement weather.
“I think it takes you out of it a little bit,” manager Terry Francona said. “That’s why we scheduled optional hitting, but mandatory defense today.”
Drizzle fell steadily throughout the series opener. The forecast for Friday is more rain.
“The weather this year has already been a physical grind and a mental grind,” Montoyo said.
Blue Jays: OF Teoscar Hernández (left oblique strain) will join the team in Cleveland after playing the third and final game of his rehab assignment with Class A Dunedin on Thursday. The two-time Silver Slugger recipient has been sidelined since April 14.
Guardians: 2B Gabriel Árias (right hand fracture), who made his big league debut on April 20, had surgery to repair a broken fifth metacarpal and will miss 6-8 weeks. The highly regarded prospect was hurt Sunday while playing for Triple-A Columbus.
Blue Jays: RHP Kevin Gausman (2-1, 2.27 ERA) faces Cleveland for the first time since 2018. He is 2-3 with a 2.45 ERA in five outings against the Guardians.
Guardians: RHP Shane Bieber (1-1, 2.45 ERA) has pitched deeper into each of his five starts, reaching seven innings and 105 pitches at Oakland on April 30.