AROUND THE HORN
Naquin named top Ohio player
CLEVELAND (AP) — Tyler Naquin wasn’t aware there was an award given to the most outstanding player in the Ohio Cup until it was handed to him.
“I’ll take all the trophies I can get,” he said, smiling.
Naquin homered in the fifth inning, scored on Kyle Farmer’s go-ahead single in the eighth and led Cincinnati to a 4-2 win over the Cleveland Guardians on Thursday, the Reds’ first series sweep of their northern 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, and split the season series with Cleveland.
Naquin tore up his former team, batting .533 (8 of 15) with three homers, four RBIs and seven runs in the four games.
For his efforts, Naquin, who was drafted by Cleveland in 2012 and was a key contributor from 2016 to 2020, was presented with the Frank Robinson Most Outstanding Award as the series’ top player.
“I didn’t even know that was a thing until they brought it in here, “ he said. That’s cool.”
Naquin, who has found his groove since dropping in the Reds’ lineup, is batting .419 (13 for 31) with two doubles, five homers and six RBIs in eight games against the Guardians.
“Yeah, a little bit,” he said with a wink when asked if it’s satisfying to swing well against his former team. “I’ve got a lot of good relationships over there.”
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.
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 Jose Ramirez hobbled back into the batter’s box after fouling a pitch from rookie Alexis Diaz off his right shin, and hit an RBI single.