Ramírez, Naylor homer on consecutive pitches in the Guardians’ 6-1 win over the Royals


CLEVELAND (AP) — For five innings, the Guardians managed just one paltry run. José Ramírez and Josh Naylor changed that with two swings.

Cleveland’s 3-4 hitters delivered a much needed 1-2 punch.

Ramírez and Naylor homered on consecutive pitches in the sixth inning as Cleveland moved closer to .500 with a 6-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night.

Ramírez homered to left field and, Naylor, who missed the previous two games because of tendinitis in his right wrist, drove one over the wall in right against reliever Amir Garrett (0-1) to help the Guardians take the opener of a four-game series.

Cleveland is hardly known for its power, but manager Terry Francona was grateful for the sudden surge.

“To that point, there’s one run and all of a sudden you look up and we got a couple-run lead,” he said. “We’ll take ‘em when we get ’em.”

Kansas City Royals’ Bobby Witt Jr. (7) is greeted in the dugout after scoring on a single by Nick Pratto against the Cleveland Guardians during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 6, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Since June 1, Ramírez and Naylor have combined for 80 hits, 11 homers and 45 RBIs — 30% of the team’s total runs.

Andrés Giménez also homered for Cleveland (43-44), which hasn’t been at .500 since April 28, when the Guardians were 13-13.

“In reality, having that number would be a reflection of what we want to do, just to have that continuity, that’s what we do,” Giménez said through an interpreter. ”Obviously, that (.500) would be the goal, to go to the break with a positive record and that would be a good reflection of what we’re trying to do here.”

Eli Morgan (4-1) worked a scoreless inning before Enyel De Los Santos, Trevor Stephan and Nick Sandlin completed the six-hitter.

Light rain pushed the scheduled start back 81 minutes to 8:31 p.m.

After losing two of three to the powerful Atlanta Braves, the Guardians had to feel good about their chances against the Royals, who came in with the AL’s worst record and were shut out for the 10th time Wednesday.

But Kansas City starter Jordan Lyles, who came in with 11 losses, held Cleveland to just one run in the first five innings.

Ramírez changed that, sending a 3-2 pitch from Garrett over the fence for his 14th homer. A fan reached over the railing to snag it with his glove, and the umpires reviewed the play to make sure the homer was legal.

Naylor left no doubt about his, smashing Garrett’s next pitch into the right-field seats for his 11th homer.

Royals manager Matt Quatraro, who coached in Cleveland, knows all about Ramírez’s power.

“José Ramírez is a good hitter,” he said. “Naylor is a good hitter. It wasn’t anything that Amir did wrong.”

The Guardians tacked on two more runs in the inning, the second when rookie Bo Naylor snapped an 0-for-19 drought with an RBI double.

Giménez, who matched a career-high with three steals, led off the second with his eighth homer, a towering shot into the right-field seats, to tie it 1-1.

Following the rain delay, the Royals, blanked by Minnesota on Wednesday, took a 1-0 lead in their first at-bat off rookie Tanner Bibee when Bobby Witt Jr. singled, stole second and scored on Nick Pratto’s one-out hit.

Bibee wasn’t sharp but hung around for five innings by working out of three jams. He was helped in the fourth by center fielder Myles Straw, who sprinted in to make a sliding catch with two on for the final out.


Adding some pitching depth, the Guardians acquired right-hander Chris Vallimont from the Baltimore Orioles for cash. He was optioned to Triple-A Columbus.

Vallimont made his MLB debut Monday and was designated for assignment afterward.

To make a roster spot, the Guardians transferred injured starter Triston McKenzie (sprained elbow) to the 60-day injured list. He’s not expected to pick up a ball for two more weeks.


Royals: RHP Zack Greinke (shoulder strain) got a favorable examination and diagnosis from doctors after being placed on the injured list. Manager Matt Quatraro said Greinke has a “mild strain” and the team is hoping the 39-year-old will return to the rotation after the All-Star break. Greinke, who has 224 career wins, felt pain in his shoulder during Tuesday’s loss to Minnesota.

Guardians: RHP Cal Quantrill (shoulder inflammation) is back on the injured list after two rough outings. Quantrill gave up a career-high 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings against Atlanta on Wednesday night. He won’t be shut down and will continue to play catch while being monitored.


Royals RHP Daniel Lynch (2-3, 4.14 ERA) snapped a 14-start home skid with a win last week. He’ll face Guardians RHP Aaron Civale (2-2, 2.96), who held the Cubs to three hits over six innings in his last start.


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