The Cleveland Guardians slugged not one, not two, but three home runs Friday night in a rare show of power, backing Tanner Bibee to secure a 5-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Bo Naylor set the tone, launching a solo home run in his first at-bat to even the score. The native Canadian was playing in front of a Toronto crowd filled with family and friends.
Ramón Laureano’s two-run homer in the fourth inning plated the go-ahead run. With two outs and a runner on first base, Laureano fell behind 0-2 in the count but made the most of a mistake pitch from Blue Jays starting pitcher Chris Bassitt, turning a four-seam fastball into an opposite field home run. After giving the Guardians a two-run lead, Laureano made it a three-run advantage in the sixth inning with an RBI double, capitalizing on an Oscar Gonzalez leadoff double.
Laureano wasn’t even in the lineup initially. Will Brennan was originally penciled into his spot, but was scratched late due a lingering right knee injury he sustained Thursday.
Andrés Giménez crushed a solo shot in the eighth to give Cleveland their fifth run.
Guardians starting pitcher Tanner Bibee continued to deliver the kind of results that have defined his outstanding rookie season. He pitched six innings, only allowing a pair of solo home runs to George Springer and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and thrived under pressure.
After Alejandro Kirk doubled to lead off the fifth inning on a ball that dropped in no man’s land in left field, Bibee retired the next three batters, including an inning-ending strikeout of Bo Bichette, to leave Kirk stranded at third base and preserve Cleveland’s two-run lead.
The Guardians’ defense saved a run in the fourth inning to also preserve what was then a two-run lead. With two outs and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. on first base, Matt Chapman hit a double to the corner in left field. Guerrero tried to score from first on the play but Steven Kwan relayed the ball to Gabriel Arias, who then gunned down Guerrero at the plate with a bullet to Naylor.
Enyel De Los Santos, Trevor Stephan, and Emmanuel Clase took care of the final three frames.