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José Ramírez injured, Cincinnati Reds down Cleveland Guardians 4-2 for 2-game sweep

Former Indian Tyler Naquin also homered as Cleveland dropped its third in a row.

CLEVELAND — Tyler Naquin homered in the fifth inning and scored on Kyle Farmer's go-ahead single in the eighth, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-2 win over the Cleveland Guardians on Thursday and the first series sweep of their Ohio neighbors since 2014.

The Reds won both games in the rain-extended interleague set, and are showing positive signs after starting the season 3-21. They're 8-5 since May 5.

Cincinnati snapped a 1-1 tie by scoring three runs in the eighth off Trevor Stephan (2-1), who gave up three straight singles to start the inning and threw wildly to first for an error after fielding a bunt.

Naquin triggered the Reds' rally and had another good game against the Guardians, who drafted him in 2012. In eight games against Cleveland, Naquin is batting .419 (13 for 31) with two doubles, five homers and six RBIs.

Farmer's single to left scored Naquin, the second run came in the eighth came home on Stephan's throw and TJ Friedl hit a sacrifice fly.

Luis Cessa (2-0) replaced effective Reds starter Tyler Mahle in the seventh and got the win. Tony Santillan worked 1 2/3 innings for his second save.

The Guardians got within 4-2 in the eighth, when José Ramírez hobbled back into the batter's box after fouling a pitch from rookie Alexis Díaz off his right shin, and hit an RBI single. But Santillan came on and got Owen Miller to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Ramírez, who leads the majors with 34 RBIs, was lifted for a pinch runner after reaching base. Guards manager Terry Francona told reporters the third baseman was "pretty sore" after the game and will undergo X-rays.

The game was played under partly cloudy skies after Wednesday night's was postponed by rain.

Cleveland starter Cal Quantrill pitched seven strong innings, but remained with only one win despite another solid outing by the right-hander. He allowed just one run and five hits, walked none and struck out five.

Quantrill has quietly been one of the AL's best pitchers since last June, when he moved into Cleveland's rotation. Over his previous 26 games, the right-hander had a 3.05 ERA, the league's fifth lowest.

Naquin, who spent 2016 to 2020 with Cleveland, tied it 1-1 in the fifth with his fourth homer. He jumped on Quantrill's first pitch, driving it over the wall in left-center for his second homer in the series.

TITO BACK

Francona was back running the Guardians after testing positive for COVID-19 and missing four games. Cleveland's base coaches, Sandy Alomar Jr. and Mike Sarbaugh, are still sidelined.

VOTTO UPDATE

First baseman Joey Votto will finally rejoin the Reds for this weekend's series in Toronto after missing 16 games following a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. He's been out since May 3.

A Toronto native, Votto said he dealt with symptoms for more than a week after getting the virus.

Before going out, Votto was batting just .122 with one extra-base hit in 22 games.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Reds: LHP Mike Minor (shoulder strain) will make his third rehab start Friday for Triple-A Louisville. He's slotted to throw 80-85 pitches, and barring a setback, will join Cincinnati's rotation soon after.

Guardians: 1B Josh Naylor is expected to return Friday after testing positive with COVID.

UP NEXT

Reds: Stay on the road against the Blue Jays with RHP Luis Castillo (0-1, 5.59 ERA) starting Friday against Hyun Jin Ryu (0-0, 9.00).

Guardians: Continue their homestand against Detroit. RHP Aaron Civale (1-3, 9.85) carries a 6-0 career record against the Tigers into the series opener against LHP Tanik Skubal (3-2, 2.50).

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