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Freeman’s HR lifts Guardians past Marlins

MIAMI — Tyler Freeman hit a tie-breaking three-run homer in the seventh inning and the Cleveland Guardians beat the Miami Marlins 6-3 on Sunday.

Gabriel Arias also went deep and Jose Ramirez doubled and drove in his major league-leading 62nd run for the AL Central-leading Guardians, who improved to 42-22 and took the series.

After Brayan Rocchio and Steven Kwan singled with one out, Freeman connected off reliever A.J. Puk (0-7) with a drive over the wall in left field for his sixth homer and a 5-2 lead.

“It feels great, knowing that you got it,” Freeman said. “There’s no better feeling than that. I was able to get the ball up and it went out.”

Nick Sandlin (5-0) pitched the sixth for the win. He was one of five Cleveland relievers that retired 13 straight before Jake Burger homered off closer Emmanuel Clase with two out in the ninth.

“With a game like today, and we have an off day tomorrow, we had our full bullpen ready to go,” Guardians manager Stephen Vogt said. “Man, they were special today.”

The Marlins have lost six of seven and dropped to an NL worst 22-43.

“There’s a reason why they’re 20 games over .500 or whatever it is,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said of the Guardians. “They play really good defense, they strike people out, and they get the timely hits. The slug is there when they need it. They’re a really tough team to face. A really well constructed roster.”

Nick Gordon’s RBI single off Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco in the fifth snapped a 1-all tie.

The Guardians tied it again in the sixth on David Fry’s single against reliever Andrew Nardi.

Carrasco pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing two runs and four hits, while striking out three. The 15-year veteran right-hander also understood why Vogt removed him after 55 pitches.

“I respect any decision he makes,” Carrasco said. “I think the most important thing is winning games. It doesn’t matter if I go there one, two, three, four innings. I just want to go out there and give my best.”

Marlins starter Trevor Rogers gave up one run and two hits over five innings. He walked four and struck out five.

Arias’ solo shot in the second gave Cleveland a 1-0 lead. Arias drove Rogers’ sinker over the wall in right center for his second homer of the season.

“It all started in our hitters’ meeting and learning what approach to take against (Rogers),” Arias said in Spanish. “That was the pitch I was looking for on the outer areas of the plate.”

Retired pitcher Dontrelle Willis threw the ceremonial first pitch before the game. Willis made his major league debut with the Marlins’ 2003 World Series championship club and made an immediate impact, winning NL Rookie of the Year. The left-hander also finished second for the NL Cy Young Award in 2005, when he finished 22-10 and had a 2.63 ERA.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Guardians: Catcher Bo Naylor (left shoulder soreness) sat out the series. Naylor first experienced discomfort after a collision at the plate with Kansas City’s MJ Melendez on Thursday.

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