Back-to-back home runs, the sec­ond an in­side-the-park job, help Cleve­land stun Toronto in the ninth

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - SPORTS -

CLEVE­LAND >> Once his long drive car­omed into no man’s land, Tyler Naquin kept go­ing. And go­ing. And go­ing.

Naquin sprinted around the bases, stum­bled to­ward home plate and scored with a head-first dive.

Then he was mobbed by his Cleve­land team­mates — they all wanted to cel­e­brate a game-win­ning in­side-the-park home run in the ninth in­ning.

Even by walk-off stan­dards, the In­di­ans’ 3-2 vic­tory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Fri­day night was a stun­ner.

“That was a pretty cool mo­ment,” Naquin said. “I al­most fell down there for a sec­ond. I wanted to just keep run­ning.”

Naquin’s mad dash capped a two-run rally. Toronto took a 2-1 lead into the ninth in a matchup of AL divi­sion lead­ers.

Closer Roberto Osuna (2-2) re­tired the first bat­ter, but Jose Ramirez tied it with a home run.

Naquin fol­lowed with a fly that hit the top of the right-field wall, above the leap of Michael Saun­ders. The ball bounced away at an an­gle and cen­ter fielder Melvin Up­ton Jr. gave chase as Naquin rounded sec­ond.

Up­ton fi­nally re­trieved the ball, but fell down as third base coach Mike Sar­baugh waved Naquin home. Up­ton flung it to­ward the in­field, and Naquin reached the plate way ahead of sec­ond base­man Devon Travis’ re­lay.

“I was just think­ing af­ter I hit it, I took a cou­ple steps out of the box and just pic­tured it kick­ing off the wall,” Naquin said. “I thought, ‘I have a chance to score if it kicks far enough.’ And sure enough, it did.”

Osuna blew his third save in 30 chances. Rus­sell Martin hit a two-run homer in the first for Toronto.

The win in­creased Cleve­land’s lead in the AL Cen­tral over Detroit to seven games. Toronto’s lead over Bos­ton in the AL East was cut to a half-game.


Cleve­land’s Tyler Naquin, top, dove for home plate for an in­side-the-park home run, cap­ping a two-run rally to beat Toronto. The mad dash around the bases by Naquin touched off a wild cel­e­bra­tion at home.

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