BOSTON -- Facing reigning American League Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, a red-hot Red Sox offense battered the Indians' ace early on Wednesday night, swatting four home runs and holding on for a 6-4 rubber-game victory at Fenway Park.
Designated hitter David Ortiz sparked the scoring for Boston by belting a leadoff home run in the second, giving him 26 for the season and 492 for his career. Right-hander Joe Kelly picked up his fourth straight win and produced six solid innings, benefiting from a trio of double plays while limiting Cleveland to one run (none earned) on five hits.
"We've been scoring a lot of runs, so that always helps," said Kelly, who owns a 1.56 ERA in his last three starts. "Just trying to keep hitters off balance, not necessarily keep pounding fastballs away. I've been throwing some offspeed pitches for strikes, and that's definitely helped, especially with guys on base."
For Kluber, the career-high four homers surrendered accounted for all six runs allowed in his six innings of work. He scattered only two other hits while punching out nine and walking one. Yan Gomes smacked an opposite-field three-run homer in the eighth, and Michael Brantley collected three hits in the losing effort.
"They hit two popups that accounted for four runs," Kluber said. "Other than that, it was pretty good."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Back-to-back attack, times two: In the fourth, two innings after Ortiz and first baseman Travis Shaw clubbed consecutive homers, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Ryan Hanigan repeated the feat by going deep off Kluber for the third and fourth homers of the game. Bradley Jr.'s blast, a three-run drive that glanced off the Green Monster light tower in left, was his 11th extra-base hit in eight games. Shaw, meanwhile, has six home runs in his first 23 career games. The barrage left the Red Sox holding a 6-0 lead.
"I thought it was a home run," Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo said. "Jackie stopped at second base. [Third-base coach Brian Butterfield] was trying to determine if it was a home run or not, and then there was some timely communication between the umpires and they got it straightened out."
Jumping Jackie flash: For as excellent as Bradley Jr.'s recent run at the plate has been, defense remains the hallmark of his game. Filling in for the equally gifted Mookie Betts in center field, Bradley Jr. took a hit away from Francisco Lindor in the first inning with an excellent leaping grab. Statcast™ clocked the liner at 103 mph and had it traveling 379 feet.
"It was hit really well," Bradley said. "One of those ones where you're trying to just guess where the spot is. I guess I was pretty close. I tried to get turned around, trying to make an acrobatic catch."
Milestone punchout: When Kluber struck out Alejandro De Aza looking in the fifth inning, it marked the 200th strikeout of the season for the ace. Kluber, who had 269 strikeouts a year ago, is the first Cleveland pitcher to have consecutive seasons with at least 200 strikeouts since Bartolo Colon accomplished the feat in 2000 and '01.
Yan gone: In the eighth inning, Brantley ignited a late push for the Tribe with a single. Jerry Sands later drew a walk, setting up a seven-pitch battle between Gomes and Jean Machi. Cleveland's catcher came out on top, drilling a 2-2 pitch down the right-field line, where it wrapped around Pesky's Pole for a three-run homer.
"It seemed like we kept knocking on the door," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Until Gomer got that hit, we were lacking that [big hit] the whole game. It just seemed like we were one swing from maybe making it a lot more interesting, like we did when Gomer hit that ball. I just wish we had a few more innings to play with."
"It's kind of a peculiar line. He was missing a bunch of bats. He got the strikeouts, but he made some mistakes with his fastball and paid the price. In this ballpark, what might be a double to left field ends up being a home run. A couple of his fastballs, they weren't terrible pitches, they just weren't located like he can locate them, and they took advantage of them." --Francona, on Kluber
"It's part of it. It's the same for both sides. That's part of playing to your environment, I guess. They're not home runs in most places, but that doesn't really matter. They were home runs here." --Kluber, on Fenway Park's dimensions
"Good defense all the way around, especially Jackie. One of the best catches I've ever seen. I was messing around with him, calling him 'OBJ,' [in reference to Giants wide receiver] Odell Beckham Jr. It was pretty fun to watch." --Kelly, on Bradley Jr.'s impressive catch
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Red Sox hit back-to-back home runs twice in the same game for the first time since doing so against the Giants on June 18, 2004, according to the Society for American Baseball Research. Ortiz was also a catalyst in that one, combining with Manny Ramirez in the fifth to jump-start a seven-run inning.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kluber became the first reigning Cy Young Award winner to allow back-to-back home runs more than once in the same game.
Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo experienced another learning moment when he caught Jose Ramirez's popup for the second out in the seventh. Thinking the inning had ended, Castillo tossed the ball into the outfield seats, resulting in a two-base error that advanced Abraham Almonte to third. Castillo has committed four errors in 44 starts this season.
"You see it happen in Major League Baseball probably three or four times a year; that's not a laughing matter to us," Lovullo said. "We take that stuff seriously. I addressed it with Rusney. We can't allow that type of stuff to happen." More >
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: The Tribe heads to the Bronx on Thursday to begin a four-game road series against the American League East-leading Yankees. Cleveland will hand the ball to righty Josh Tomlin (0-1, 2.84 ERA) in the 7:05 p.m. ET series opener. Tomlin returned from a right shoulder injury on Saturday and held the Twins to two solo homers over 6 1/3 innings in his first outing of the 2015 season.
Red Sox: Boston hosts the Royals, who boast the AL's top record, for four games at Fenway Park, starting with Thursday night's 7:10 ET meeting. Left-hander Wade Miley (9-9, 4.58 ERA) will try to raise his record above .500 after picking up his first win since July 2 on Saturday. He held the Mariners to two runs and struck out eight over seven innings in that victory.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.