Jeimer Candelario homers twice, Reds beat Guardians 4-2 to split Ohio Cup opening series

Updated Jun. 12, 2024 11:07 p.m. ET

CINCINNATI (AP) — Jeimer Candelario homered twice and drove in all four runs and the Cincinnati Reds rallied to beat the Cleveland Guardians 4-2 on Wednesday night to split the opening series of the Ohio Cup.

Candelario had a 404-foot solo shot to center in the first inning and hit a three-run homer with one out in the sixth inning that chased Tanner Bibee (4-2) after the Cleveland right-hander had logged a career-high 11 strikeouts.

“Honestly, (Candelario) was locked in all night,” Cleveland manager Stephen Vogt said. “He had great at-bats against Tanner.”

Nick Lodolo (7-2) had another quality start for the Reds, allowing two Cleveland runs and seven hits with six strikeouts through six innings.

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“It was definitely a grind — the whole night, to be honest,” Lodolo said. "I just kept my head down and kept trying to make pitches. I was definitely fighting myself out there a little bit.

“I was able to keep us in the game there, and then Candy single-handedly won us the game."

Lodolo got into a jam in the third, but it could have been worst. He hit Josh Naylor to load the bases and walked in a run before getting Andrés Giménez on a groundout.

Lucas Sims and Sam Moll each pitched a scoreless inning, and Alexis Diaz got Cleveland in order in the ninth for his 14th save.

Bibee gave up four runs and four hits as the Reds snapped the Guardians' three-game winning streak.

Candelario has hit in 10 of 11 games so far in June with five home runs.

“I'm getting there,” the 30-year-old third baseman said. “Today was a great day, for sure. I'll take it. I got to keep going. Keep going.”

Reds manager David Bell knew Candelario was capable, even after a slow start in his first season in Cincinnati.

“(He's) just settling in,” Bell said. “We acquired Jeimer because he's been a good player in this league for a while now. And to Jeimer's credit, he just stayed with it. He trusted himself. He worked really hard. He's in a position right now where he's able to fight and have great at-bats.”

The Guardians and Reds played in front of a loud sellout crowd of 42,427 on Elly De La Cruz bobblehead night at Great American Ball Park. The Cincinnati shortstop didn't give fans much to cheer about that the plate. He struck out three times and flied out.

UP NEXT

Guardians: After a day off Thursday, Cleveland goes to Toronto for a three-game series. Left-hander Logan Allen (6-3, 5.57) was set to start Friday night against Blue Jays RHP Kevin Gausman (5-4, 4.00 ERA).

Reds: After a day off, Cincinnati opens a weekend series with the NL Central leading Brewers on Friday night. The Reds will send right-hander Hunter Greene (4-2, 3.61) against Milwaukee right-hander Freddy Peralta (4-3, 3.95).

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This story has been updated to correct the pitcher to Tanner Bibee, not Tyler Bibbee.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB

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