The Guardians, the youngest team in baseball, unexpectedly ended their run to the top of the AL Central.

ARLINGTON, Texas — Safety glasses were mandatory attire Sunday at a Cleveland club, where impromptu showers of champagne and beer erupted in thick wisps of cigar smoke.

The Guardians, the youngest team in baseball, unexpectedly ended their run to the top of the AL Central.

Rookie Stephen Kwan hit a grand slam and drove in a season-high five runs as the Guardians captured a division title no one thought possible six months ago with a 10-4 victory over the Texas Rangers.

When catcher Luke Mayle squeezed out Josh Smith’s foul ball for the final out, the Guardians began celebrating the title, which had effectively become official 15 minutes earlier after second-place Chicago’s loss to the Detroit Tigers.

After winning first place on September 4, the Guardians have won seven in a row and have won 18 games in 21 games to open a 10-game lead and escape the division.

“This team is good. We are not just young. We’re pretty good,” said starter Cal Quantrill, the club’s leader with 14 wins. “I don’t think anybody’s excited about us right now. We play the best baseball. We play baseball the right way.”

It’s Cleveland’s 11th Central title since the division was founded in 1994 and fourth in 10 years under manager Terry Francona, who has battled health issues the past two seasons but enjoyed this run with a team that may have surprised on the road start, but is now viewed as a legitimate World Series threat.

“For what our guys did, and when you do it with people you care about and love and respect, it means a lot,” Francona said before his statement was interrupted by a stunning pour.

“I’m amazed by these guys,” said Chris Antonetti, the team’s president of baseball operations. “They came together and played in the right direction.”

This season was not supposed to happen.

After ditching the Indians moniker after the 2021 season, a move that angered a large portion of Cleveland’s fan base, the Guardians have done little to update their free agent roster as the front office decided that 2022 will be all about seeing what he has.

As it turns out, Cleveland’s kids were more than okay.

Perhaps none more so than Kwan, a 25-year-old with a game well beyond his years. He made the roster in spring training and has been a pesky leadoff hitter for the Guardians since opening day, working pitchers in deep counts before striking out and annoying on the base paths.

Fittingly, it was Kwan who led the way to Sunday’s clinch.

“To help any team I was on, whether it was Triple-A or the Majors,” Kwan said of his goals this season. “I think it helped me in college, traveling, whatever. I know that if I focus on helping the team and others, then everything will fall into place.”

Kwan’s hit in the eighth inning narrowly cleared the wall and got back into the game. He wasn’t sure until first base umpire Bruce Dreckman signaled. He said his reaction was to “black out”.

With big games ahead, Kwan wasn’t ready to reflect on what he and his teammates had accomplished.

“I definitely want to keep my head down, keep rolling.” he said. “Perhaps, in some superstitious sense, I don’t want to look away. Keep it up and forward.”

The Guardians defied the odds from the outset to become the first team to win the division with at least 16 rookies making their major league debuts.

The season began with low expectations everywhere but Cleveland’s clubhouse. Maybe it was naivety, but the Guardians believed they could be special, and that’s exactly what happened.

“From day one, they came together,” Antonetti said. “You walk around the club, our veteran players like Jose Ramirez, Amed Rosario, Shane Bieber, Austin Hedges set the tone. “Tito” (Francona) said just find a way to help the team win.

“They’ve embraced that mentality.”

The Guardians have done so with a ball-in-play offense, solid and often spectacular defense and a pitching staff anchored by closer Emmanuel Claeys (major league-best 39 saves).

Cleveland strikes out less than any team in the majors, and nobody moves from first to third better.

Amid the clubhouse chaos, Antonetti pointed out that the 63-year-old Francona won two World Series with Boston and may have had her best season after some serious media trouble.

“To think about what he personally overcame to get to this point,” Antonetti said. “This is a special moment for Tito.