CLEVELAND (AP) José Ramírez's only misses came on swings for history.
Ramírez connected for a solo shot in the first inning off Matt Dermody (0-1), belted a two-run shot - his 200th career homer - in the third and added another solo blast in the sixth when the Guardians hit for the cycle, had eight straight hits and scored five times.
Ramírez came up a second time in the sixth bidding for a rare four-homer game, but struck out swinging. The four-time All-Star third baseman had another chance in the eighth, and grounded to third.
“My last two at-bats I was swinging away,” Ramírez admitted.
There have only been 16 four-homer games in the majors since 1901. The last to do it was Arizona's J.D. Martinez in 2017. Cleveland got one from Rocky Colavito on June 10, 1959.
“Everyone in (the clubhouse) would say the same thing, he’s the best player in the game," said Cleveland starter Aaron Civale (2-1), who had his second straight solid start. "He plays the game the best way every single night.
“He might not be on paper the most talented. He might not be considered the best. But when he plays the game the way he plays it, he’s the best in the game.”
Ramírez also showed off some of his defensive prowess in the sixth by backhanding Justin Turner's hard shot and throwing off balance across the diamond to get Boston's third baseman while backpedaling in foul territory.
“If that was back in the day like Brooks Robinson, that play would be shown over and over and over,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said said.
Will Brennan added a homer as the Guardians won the series and handed the Red Sox their fifth loss in six games. Boston is under .500 for the first time since April 28.
“It's not the type of baseball we want to play,” said manager Alex Cora. “But here we are.”
Triston Casas chased Civale in the sixth with his seventh homer to pull Boston within 3-2.
But Cleveland, whose offense has awakened after a slow start, pounded former teammate Corey Kluber in the sixth. After Ramírez homered, Andrés Giménez hit a two-run double, Myles Straw hit an RBI triple and Brennan singled home a run as the Guardians opened an 8-2 lead.
Kluber, who was recently demoted to the bullpen, was tagged for seven runs and 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings. When manager Alex Cora pulled him, Kluber, a two-time Cy Young winner with Cleveland, made a slow walk from the mound where he had so much success to Boston's dugout.
“It's really tough,” Cora said about seeing Kluber hit so hard. “He couldn't buy a break.”
Dermody's first major league start came with some controversy.
The left-hander posted a homophobic tweet in 2021, and since deleted it, that the Red Sox were not aware of when they signed Dermody in January. He participated in the team's mandatory anti-discrimination and harassment prevention training in March.
The team called Dermodys' post “hurtful” and Cora praised the club's handling of the matter.
“You have to say it like it is, and be transparent,” Cora said.
Dermody will be designated for assignment Friday when outfielder Adam Duvall is expected to be activated from the 60-day injured list. Duvall has been out for two months with a broken left wrist sustained while making a diving catch in Detroit.
HAVE A SEAT
Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo was not in the starting lineup after being benched for not hustling in Wednesday's loss.
With Boston trailing 5-2 in the seventh inning, Verdugo slowed up between first and second base on a ball hit by Masataka Yoshida. Cora felt like Verdugo should have been running harder and immediately pulled him.
Before the series finale, Cora explained Verdugo was being disciplined.
“We just felt like on that play his reaction wasn’t a great one, not hustling his behind to second,” Cora said. "I don’t know if he was out or safe, but I didn’t like it. ... I felt like it wasn't acceptable, and he knows it.”
Cora said he spoke to Verdugo, who has been having a solid season. He'll play tomorrow in New York.
Red Sox: INF Yu Chang (left hamate fracture) will continue his rehab assignment at Triple-A Worcester this weekend and rejoin Boston's roster on Monday. ... LHP Richard Bleier (shoulder inflammation) is not recovering as quickly as the team expected. He recently began playing catch for the first time since going on the IL on May 22.
Red Sox: RHP Garrett Whitlock (2-2, 5.16 ERA) starts the series opener in New York against Yankees ace Gerrit Cole (7-0, 2.82).
Guardians: Rookie LHP Logan Allen (3-2, 2.76), who tossed seven scoreless innings in his last start, goes against Houston RHP Christian Javier (7-1, 2.84) in the opener of a three-game set.
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