CLEVELAND (AP) — Connor Wong homered twice, Rafael Devers connected in his return to Boston’s lineup and the banged-up Red Sox got another solid pitching effort in an 8-0 win over the Cleveland Guardians on Wednesday night.

Wong hit leadoff homers in the second and sixth innings off Carlos Carrasco (1-2). He added an RBI single in the ninth and had four hits.

Devers missed the previous five games with a bone bruise in his knee. After testing his knee by scoring on a double in the first, he homered in the fifth and the Red Sox piled up a season-high 16 hits to cool off baseball’s hottest team with a four-hit shutout.

“Any time that guy is in the lineup it completely changes it,” Wong said of Devers. “He can hit the ball really far at any point in the game so it’s great when he’s in there.”

Rookie outfielder Wilyer Abreu also had four hits and drove in a run in Boston’s second shutout against Cleveland in a week.

With three starters on the injured list, Red Sox manager Alex Cora was counting on his bullpen to get him through a game or two and rookie Cooper Criswell (1-1) gave him five scoreless innings in his fourth career start.

Criswell allowed three singles before Cora used Joely Rodríguez and Zack Kelly for two innings apiece to finish off the Guardians.

Despite numerous injuries, the Red Sox have gotten good pitching.

They lowered their team ERA to 1.73, the lowest through 25 games since 1920.

“We needed something like that,” Cora said. “Coop was amazing. Like I said before, we’re going to keep going, man. That’s who we are. We’re going to pitch. We will pitch. We’re playing better defense.”

The Guardians had their winning streak stopped at five straight. They came in with MLB’s best record and came one win shy of matching the 1966 team (18-6) for the best start in franchise history through 24 games.

It was Carrasco’s 200th career start for Cleveland and 100th at Progressive Field. The 37-year-old returned to the Guardians this season after being traded in 2020.

“It means a lot because I did my first one in September 2009,” said Carrasco. “Just getting back here, I just want to do so well to win this game. But it’s part of the game, so tomorrow’s another day.”

Before the game, the Red Sox placed starter Brayan Bello on the IL with lat tightness, the latest injury for a Boston team that has been dealing with more than its share of sprains and strains this spring.

“It’s hard,” Cora said. “We’re going to continue. Nobody is going to feel sorry for the Red Sox.”

Wong, who came in batting .393 with three homers against Cleveland, connected for his fourth homer in the second, driving a 1-1 pitch from Carrasco over the wall in straightaway center to make it 2-0.

It was Boston’s MLB-leading 20th homer on the road.

The Red Sox jumped on Carrasco for a run in the first as Devers singled and scored on Abreu’s two-out RBI double.

As the All-Star broke for third, Cora could hardly watch.

“I was praying, to be honest with you,” he said. “He didn’t look too good. He let it go at the end, but he wasn’t moving great.”

Devers, who has also missed time with a shoulder injury, said his knee held up fine.

“I wasn’t scared to go full speed there,” he said through a translator. “I haven’t run full speed since I got my injury, but I felt good.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Red Sox: Starting RHP Nick Pivetta (elbow) will throw a live batting practice Saturday before the team decides whether to send him out on a minor league rehab assignment. … RHP Garrett Whitlock (oblique) is playing catch in Boston.

Guardians: RHP Gavin Williams (elbow) received an anti-inflammatory injection after suffering a setback in his recovery. Williams, who was expected to have a major role this season, felt soreness following a three-inning simulated game last weekend. Williams got hurt throwing a weighted ball in March. He’ll won’t throw for at least one week before being re-evaluated.

UP NEXT

Guardians RHP Triston McKenzie (2-2, 5.00 ERA) will start the series finale against Red Sox RHP Chase Anderson (0-0 2.77).

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