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Devers makes history with career-high 6 hits

Sale quickest to 2,000 K's; Cashner gets first career save
@IanMBrowne
August 14, 2019

CLEVELAND -- Throughout perhaps the wildest and most-needed win the Red Sox have had all season, there was but one constant on Tuesday night at Progressive Field. Rafael Devers just kept raking. In a 7-6 victory over the Indians that took 10 innings and required six pitchers (including Nathan Eovaldi,

CLEVELAND -- Throughout perhaps the wildest and most-needed win the Red Sox have had all season, there was but one constant on Tuesday night at Progressive Field.

Rafael Devers just kept raking.

In a 7-6 victory over the Indians that took 10 innings and required six pitchers (including Nathan Eovaldi, who was supposed to start Wednesday), Devers made history.

Box score

The 22-year-old third baseman went 6-for-6 with four doubles, becoming the first player in Major League history to record six or more hits and four or more doubles in one game.

"I had no idea, obviously," said Devers. "I just try to go out there and have good at-bats, that's all I was thinking about. Just every turn, try to get on base, and just trying to do that for the team."

In typical Devers fashion, he didn't just get hits, but he scalded the baseball. For nearly the entire season, Devers has led MLB in batted balls with an exit velocity of 95 mph or more. He added five more to give him 197. DJ LeMahieu of the Yankees is a distant second at 178.

"Special night," said Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. "What was even more impressive was that every single ball was a Scud missile that he hit. He hit everything hard. There were no cheap hits and he's going to be a special player."

It was a performance so impressive that Devers trumped ace Chris Sale, who also made MLB history on Tuesday by becoming the fastest pitcher to reach 2,000 career strikeouts.

Sale was happy to play second fiddle to his gifted teammate, who is a favorite in the clubhouse with his constant smile and love for the team.

"That's unbelievable," said Sale. "Not only tonight, but as a whole. He's not only one of the best players on our team, but he's one of the best players in the league. He's got a chance to be MVP. That in itself is pretty special."

Though it wasn't a perfect night for Devers, who made a costly error in the seventh and a baserunning mistake in the ninth, it was a stellar performance that couldn't have been better-timed, given that the Sox came in with 12 losses in their previous 15 games, including three in a row.

"Historic. Amazing," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Devers. "He's probably going to talk about what happened on that defensive play. Probably he's not going to sleep because of that, because he takes pride in that, and he feels like he put us in a bad spot. But as Chris told him, 'You're a big part of what we're doing here, what we're trying to accomplish. You've been carrying this team for a long, long time, so pick your head up and keep playing.'"

Devers wasn't the only one who kept playing. It was an adventurous and trying night for the Red Sox in many ways, but they stayed at it and found a way. And by the time it was over, there was plenty to unpack.

JBJ's big blast

The Indians completed their comeback from 6-1 down when Francisco Lindor belted an RBI double to tie it in the bottom of the ninth and lead to Brandon Workman's first blown save since July 4.

Considering that the Red Sox came back from a 5-1 deficit on Monday night to tie it with two outs in the top of the ninth and still wound up losing, another heartbreaking defeat would have been tough to handle.

Bradley made sure that didn't happen when he smashed a go-ahead solo homer with one out in the 10th against Nick Wittgren. Bradley came into the night hitting .183 with a .611 OPS since the start of July. As history has proven, Bradley often follows his cold streaks with hot streaks. Perhaps this will be the start of one.

"I'm just being an athlete," said Bradley. "I'm just focusing on that. I feel pretty good."

Cashner's first career save

Once Bradley gave the Red Sox the lead, Cora needed to figure out a way to close the game with a bullpen that has been taxed in recent weeks. Enter Andrew Cashner, who was entrusted with the save opportunity in his first bullpen appearance since being bounced from the starting rotation. He came through for his first career save.

Cashner threw 17 pitches, 11 of them for strikes. The righty topped out at 97.7 mph and retired three out of the four batters he faced.

"My adrenaline hadn't been that high in a while," said Cashner. "It reminded me of being back in college, closing games out. It was fun."

Before Tuesday, very little had been fun for Cashner since the July 13 trade that brought him to Boston. In six starts, he was 1-4 with an 8.01 ERA. Perhaps the new role will give Cashner a second chance to be an impactful acquisition.

"That was outstanding," said Cora. "We talked a little bit two days ago and he felt like, 'I haven't contributed.' I said, 'Hey, man, be ready. We've still got a month and a half for this to happen and you're going to be a big part of it.' And he got the save today."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.