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Naquin hits game-ending inside-the-park HR, Indians top Jays

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CLEVELAND — Tyler Naquin hit a game-ending inside-the-park homer, sprinting around the bases to cap a two-run rally in the ninth inning as the Cleveland Indians stunned the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 on Friday night.

This was only the second time – and first since 1916 by Braggo Roth – the Indians ended a win with an inside-the-park home run, ESPN Stats & Info said.

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

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 stumbled home and scored with a head-first dive way ahead of second baseman Devon Travis‘ relay.

The Indians poured from the dugout to mob Naquin. On Thursday night, Naquin lofted a sacrifice fly as a pinch-hitter in the ninth to lift Cleveland over the White Sox.

Jeff Manship (2-1) pitched the ninth. Trevor Bauer struck out a career-high 13 in eight innings

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.

Mike Napoli hit an RBI single in the sixth for Cleveland.

Toronto played without third baseman Josh Donaldson (jammed right thumb) and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (sore calf).

Michael Saunders drew a one-out walk in the first. Bauer retired Edwin Encarnacion, but Martin homered.

The crowd of 30,665 featured several thousand Blue Jays fans who matched cheers and chants with Indians fans throughout the game.

THE CHAMP IS HERE

Until the wild finish, the biggest cheer of the night went to LeBron James, who watched the game from a suite. James led the Cavaliers past Golden State in the NBA Finals, Cleveland’s first championship in 52 years.

ROSTER NEWS

The Indians called up RHP Shawn Armstrong from Triple-A Columbus and optioned left-hander Kyle Crockett to the same club. The Blue Jays optioned outfielder Darrell Ceciliani to Triple-A Buffalo.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: Manager John Gibbons expects Donaldson and Tulowitzki to be available Saturday.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez will start for the first time since Aug. 13 as the team attempts to limit his innings.

Indians: RHP Josh Tomlin returns from the family medical emergency list. He flew home to Tyler, Texas, on Wednesday.

Bryce Harper letting his haters be his motivators

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When the Phillies go on the road, and even sometimes at home, outfielder Bryce Harper is a magnet for hecklers. Fans have been chanting things like “overrated” at him. But it hasn’t really been working.

Last night, Harper was being booed and ridiculed by fans at Fenway Park according to MLB.com’s Jessica Camerato. Harper shut them up with a two-run home run in the fifth inning which gave the Phillies a 3-2 lead, the score by which they would eventually win. Manager Gabe Kapler said, “I thought it was really interesting. There were some hecklers. I don’t know if they were Red Sox [fans] or who they were, but they were on him pretty good up until that moment. That was a pretty explosive moment for the dugout celebration.”

It is not the only time Harper has been heckled only to homer shortly thereafter.

Last week, Harper was 0-for-3 in a game against the Cubs. On his way back to the dugout, a fan yelled, “$330 million, 0-for-3.” Per TMZ Sports, Harper responded, “Shut the f–k up, stupid!” He would go on to hit a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Two weeks ago in San Francisco, fans chanted “overrated” at Harper. He promptly hit one of his two home runs in the Phillies’ 9-6 victory.

Harper was on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2009, when he was 17 years old. Tom Verducci compared him to LeBron James, a comparison that has stuck with Harper ever since. He was the No. 1 overall selection in the 2010 draft. He’s more than used to being in the spotlight and more than used to hearing a little criticism. He lets his haters be his motivators. Maybe his detractors should approach it from the opposite angle — try killing him with kindness. Yelling, “Bryce, you have great hair!” might get him to go on an 0-for-54 skid.