Steven Kwan, Jhonkensy Noel hit solo homers in Guardians' 5-4 victory over the Giants

CLEVELAND — Major league batting leader Steven Kwan hit a solo homer and scored twice, Jhonkensy Noel homered and drove in two runs and the AL Central-leading Cleveland Guardians beat the San Francisco Giants 5-4 on Saturday.

The Guardians have the best home record in baseball at 29-11 — winning 18 of their last 23 at Progressive Field — and moved past Baltimore into first in the AL.

“There is a really common theme with the guys here,” Noel said through translator Agustin Rivero. “We play to win because we want to win.”

Kwan, who will start in the outfield at the All-Star Game, went 2 for 4 to raise his average to .365. He extended his interleague hitting streak to 11 games and is batting .413 against National League foes.

Noel homered for the third time in eight games since making his major league debut June 26. His towering solo shot to left off Luke Jackson pushed Cleveland’s lead to 5-3 in the sixth inning.

“I know myself, I’m a power hitter,” Noel said. “I know pitchers are going to attack me, so I have to be very disciplined, very patient and very do my best.”

Pedro Avila (3-1) was awarded the win for 1 1/3 innings of one-run relief. Emmanuel Clase walked Matt Chapman in the ninth before wrapping it up for his AL-high 26th save.

Tyler Fitzgerald delivered a two-run single, Michael Conforto had an RBI double and Chapman scored on a double-steal for San Francisco. The Giants have won eight of their last 12, but failed to reach .500 for the first time since May 31.

Fitzgerald provided the big hit in the Giants’ three-run fifth, then stole second, which prompted Chapman to try to beat the return throw to the plate. It was San Francisco’s first theft of home in seven years.

“I actually wasn’t supposed to go there, but I saw (catcher Bo Naylor) throw to second and took off,” Chapman said. “Cleveland has got some good guys on the mound, so you’ve got to take a chance in a situation like that.”

Conforto’s double pulled the Giants to 5-4 in the seventh, giving him 10 RBIs and eight extra-base hits in a 12-game stretch.

Kyle Harrison (4-4), activated for his first start since June 10, went 3 1/3 innings and gave up four runs. The left-hander was on the injured list with a sprained right ankle.

Guardians left-hander Logan Allen struck out a season-high nine in 4 1/3 innings, allowing two runs.

“I’m a competitor because I always think I can get through the fifth, but I’m kind of happy with the way things turned out,” Allen said.


Giants: RHP Alex Cobb (right shoulder soreness) struck out five over two scoreless innings in his second rehab appearance for Single-A San Jose on Friday. Manager Bob Melvin said Cobb told him that he “felt fine” when they spoke Saturday morning.

Guardians: LHP Matthew Boyd (Tommy John surgery) threw a two-inning simulated game at Progressive Field before the gates opened, reaching 91-93 mph on his fastball. Recent signee Boyd is expected to make his Cleveland debut in August.


Giants RHP Hayden Birdsong (1-0, 4.66 ERA) faces Guardians RHP Carlos Carrasco (3-6, 5.21 ERA) on Sunday in the series finale. Birdsong makes his third big league start since being recalled from Triple-A Sacramento.



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