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Red Sox beat Guardians 8-3 for sweep, winning streak at 7

CLEVELAND (AP) — Trevor Story drove in two runs to reach 500 career RBIs, Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez each had three hits and the Boston Red Sox defeated the Cleveland Guardians 8-3 on Sunday for a three-game sweep that extended their winning streak to seven.

Boston had 15 hits and drew 11 walks, its highest total since May 2019. The Red Sox have won 11 of 13 and are 19-4 in June, improving to a season-high 11 games over .500 at 42-31.

“It’s not easy to do,” Boston manager Alex Cora said of the sweep. “We’re good and we have to keep working for what we want to accomplish.”

After winning tight games Friday and Saturday, Cora liked the way his team maintained pressure for nine innings.

“It’s important,” he said. “It’s night and day to the group. Early in the season we were swinging at bad pitches, not walking, striking out a lot, not hitting the ball hard. Now it’s the total opposite.”

Cleveland has lost four straight since a 7-2 trip and hosts AL Central-leading Minnesota in a five-game series starting Monday. The Twins arrive with a two-game division lead.

Rich Hill (4-4) allowed one run, five hits and four walks in six innings, getting double plays in the first, third and fourth.

“The double play saved us today,” Hill said. “Overall we played great. Great defense. Obviously we did our job at the plate, swinging the bats. The bullpen came in and did a great job.”

Story, signed to a $140 million, six-year contract before the season, hit a two-run single in the sixth for a 5-0 lead.

Christian Vázquez had an RBI double in the fourth and Rafael Devers added a run-scoring double in the seventh.

A throwing error by second baseman Andres Giminez scored a run in the third and a low throw by Giminez on a potential inning-ending double play in the fourth led to another run. Right fielder Oscar Gonzalez briefly froze on a double over his head and and didn’t make the catch on another double that landed in front of the wall in the fourth.

Aaron Civale (2-4) allowed three runs, eight hits and three walks over four innings in his second start since missing a month with left glute tightness.

“On a day when he probably needed a little help we certainly didn’t give him much,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “They don’t go outside the strike zone very much and he got in situations with a lot of deep counts, just missing away or in. We had probably four or five plays, some of them aren’t errors, but we need to make those plays. So that made it even harder.”

Gonzalez and Owen Miller drove in runs for Cleveland. which has eight runs in the last four games.

THE PLAN

Duran and closer Tanner Houck, who pitched the ninth in a non-save situation, will not accompany the team to Toronto for its series against the Blue Jays because they aren’t vaccinated for COVID-19. Houck will throw batting practice to Duran at Fenway Park this week.

Cora knows the Red Sox are in for a challenge the next three days.

“Now we get ready for Toronto,” he said. “Obviously they’re one of the big boys in the division. They’ve been playing solid throughout the season, but we’ll be ready for it.”

STRONG WEEKEND

Hill played in Cleveland during the 2013 season and knows winning a series against teams managed by Francona is difficult,

“Obviously starting with Tito and the whole group of guys over there and the coaching staff, having known them from being over there throughout the years,” Hill said. “They’re prepared extremely well. It’s no surprise year after year they’re always in the talks. They have a lot of good young talent over there.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (broken right rib) will make a rehab start for Double-A Portland on Thursday. He struck out six over 2 2/3 innings for the Florida Complex League Red Sox in his second rehab outing Saturday.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: RHP Connor Seabold will start Monday’s series opener in his second major league appearance.

Guardians: RHP Triston McKenzie (4-5, 3.51 ERA) will start Monday after giving up three homers in 4 1/3 innings at Target Field last week.

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