Josh Naylor hits a two-run HR and himself with his bat, helping the Guardians beat the Athletics 6-3

CLEVELAND (AP) — Josh Naylor hit a two-run homer and celebrated by striking himself on the helmet with his bat, providing the Cleveland Guardians with the go-ahead run in a 6-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night.

Naylor’s drive in the fifth off Alex Wood drove in Steven Kwan, giving Cleveland a 4-2 lead. The animated slugger delivered a two-handed smack to his head as the ball cleared the fence in right-center, then spiked the lumber onto the grass.

“I always just try to be your best self in any situation,” a much calmer Naylor said after the game. “It was a cool moment, but it was for the boys and that's all I really play for. When we get punched, we punch back."

Two innings later, Naylor again drove in Kwan, with an RBI single off Austin Adams. He is hitting .429 with five homers, 11 RBIs and eight runs in eight home games this season.

“In moments like that, he becomes Josh Naylor,” Kwan said. “That's the inner competitor. And off the field, he's the stereotypical Canadian, the nicest guy ever who takes care of his people.”

Kwan doubled twice and had two singles -- his MLB-high sixth three-hit game -- and José Ramírez and Ramón Laureano had RBI doubles for the Guardians, who have the best record in the American League at 15-6.

Cleveland and rookie manager Stephen Vogt have won six of their last seven and are off to their best start through 21 games since 1999.

“That's Josh Naylor, man, he's emotional and charismatic,” Vogt said. “As long as he didn't concuss himself, I'm all right with the celebration.”

Guardians starter Logan Allen (3-0) pitched five innings, allowing three runs on five hits. Emmanuel Clase worked the ninth for his sixth save in eight chances.

Max Schuemann tied the score at 2-2 in the fifth with his first big league hit, a homer, prompting an emotional celebration by his family in the stands. Schuemann, a 26-year-old who made his debut on April 12, also stole a base.

Ryan Noda had a solo homer in the fifth and Shea Langeliers added a sixth-inning sacrifice fly for Oakland.

Wood (0-2) gave up four runs in five innings, lowering his ERA to 7.89 through five starts.

Ramírez and Laureano opened the scoring in the first with sharp RBI doubles just inside the third base line. Laureano spent 5 1/2 years with the Athletics before being claimed off waivers by Cleveland last Aug. 7.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Athletics: 3B J.D. Davis (right groin strain) has not resumed baseball activities, but was cleared to walk on a treadmill Friday. Davis is eligible to come off the 10-day IL on April 25.

Guardians: LHP Sam Hentges (left middle finger inflammation) worked one scoreless inning, throwing 10 strikes in 14 pitches, in his initial rehab outing for Double-A Akron on Friday.

UP NEXT

Athletics RHP Ross Stripling (0-4, 5.32 ERA) takes on Guardians RHP Tanner Bibee (1-0, 4.82 ERA) in the three-game series finale. Stripling is tied for the major league lead in losses, while Bibee has averaged 4.7 innings and 4.5 strikeouts in his first four starts.

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