CLEVELAND — A day after he went 6 for 6, Rafael Devers singled in the first inning of Wednesday afternoon’s game against Cleveland, then homered in the third inning.
When the Indians finally retired Devers in the fifth inning, the crowd of 29,535 at Progressive Field sarcastically cheered.
Devers was 2 for 4 with a walk in a 5-1 victory, his batting average climbing to .327. He has 71 extra-base hits in 490 at-bats.
“How would I pitch him? I wouldn’t want to the way he’s going,” teammate Rick Porcello said.
It had been 81 years since a Red Sox player had hits in eight straight plate appearances. That was Pinky Higgins in 1938.
“I haven’t seen anything like it,” Red Sox hitting coach Tim Hyers said. “It’s been impressive, he’s using the whole field. I think the one that was most impressive today was when he hit the 3-2 changeup for an opposite-field home run.
“It’s hard to play defense against him because he’s spraying the ball all around and hitting it really hard. It’s nice to see him stay on the ball. When he makes contact, it’s so consistently hard.”
On Tuesday, Devers became the only player since 1900 to have six-plus hits — including at least four doubles — in a game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Devers also tied the franchise record for hits in a game, joining Nomar Garciaparra (June 21, 2003, at the Phillies), Jerry Remy (Sept. 3, 1981, vs. the Mariners), Pete Runnels (Aug. 30, 1960, vs. the Tigers), and Jimmy Piersall (June 10, 1953, at the St. Louis Browns).
There’s more. Devers is the first player with six-plus hits in a game at the age of 22 or younger since 21-year-old Joe Morgan of the Astros went 6 for 6 against the Milwaukee Braves on July 8, 1965.
Devers also joined Ted Williams as the only Red Sox with 70-plus extra-base hits in a season at age of 22 or younger. Williams had 86 extra-base hits in 1939 at age 20, and 80 in 1940 at age 21.
“I had no idea. I just try to go out and have a good at-bat,” Devers said Tuesday night. “That’s all I was really thinking about. Every turn, just get on base and trying to do that for the team.
“I felt good. I’m always confident every single game. Obviously there are some days where I’m a little more confident and I have a bad game, so just try to go out there and do my job.”
The Red Sox had only 24 men on their roster for the final two games of the series. Brock Holt was allowed to return to Texas for the funeral of an assistant coach he was close to in junior college.
Derwood “Pops” Penney, who was 78, died on Saturday. Penney spent 16 years as an assistant at Navarro College and coached Holt from 2007-08.
“He was the greatest man I’ve ever met,” Holt wrote on his Instagram page. “A coach, a friend, a mentor, a husband, a father, my hero. He was the best at all of them. I love you, Pops.”
Under the terms of Major League Baseball’s bereavement list, a player can miss 3-7 games for the death or serious illness in his [or his spouse’s] immediate family and be replaced on the roster.
Holt did not qualify in this instance, but the Sox made it work. He is expected to rejoin the team on Friday.
Wasting no time
It took Chris Sale just 1,626 innings to reach 2,000 career strikeouts on Tuesday, the fewest innings ever needed to reach that mark. The previous record was held by Pedro Martinez (1,711⅓ ).
“It’s cool. It’s special,” Sale said. “I’m not a real big fan of stats and numbers and stuff like that, but I appreciate it. I think it’s cool. A lot of people put in a lot of hard work to get me here. Obviously, I appreciate all of them.”
Xander Bogaerts was 2 for 4 with a walk and two home runs. He has 27 home runs on the season, adding to his career best, and 101 for his career. Bogaerts is the 31st player with 100 home runs as a member of the Sox and the sixth who was primarily a shortstop. The last was Garciaparra, who had 178 from 1996-2004. The record for a Sox shortstop is 210 by Rico Petrocelli . . . Indians starter Shane Bieber, who allowed two runs over six innings, recorded his 200th strikeout of the season. The 24-year-old became the youngest Indians pitcher with 200 strikeouts since Dennis Eckersley in 1976 at age 21.
Peter Abraham of the Globe staff contributed to this report.