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4 outs as the scruffy Red Sox fall to the Guardians on Josh Naylor’s homer

Red Sox

– This has been happening here for some time.

Red Sox relief pitcher Tanner Houck screamed into his glove after giving up a solo home run to Cleveland’s Josh Naylor. Jim Davis/Globe staff

Red Sox manager Alex Cora sounded a little tired of using the same words over and over when he spoke to the media after Wednesday’s 7-6 loss to the Guardians — the latest in a string of frustrating, sloppy losses his team has suffered.

Still, even a frustrating baseball season lasts at least 162 games, and sometimes you have to repeat yourself a little.

“We didn’t play good defense towards the end,” Cora said wearily. “That’s the result. We gave the rival more than 27 cars at this level, we paid the price… It’s been going on here for a while.”

The worst offender — though not the only one — was Franchy Cordero, whose struggles to learn to play first base proved costly on Wednesday. With the Red Sox leading 6-5 in the top of the eighth, Cordero fielded a fly ball and threw an ill-advised, off-balance ball to closer John Schreiber that bounced off the reliever. Guardians right fielder Nolan Jones got an infield single and sprinted to second on an error. Two batters later, Myles Straw — the Guardians’ ninth baseman — hit his second double of the game to score Jones.

“Those games in between are the hardest games,” Cordero said after the game through a translator. “I’m just trying to learn from my mistakes and move on.”

Cordero made History of the Red Sox with the first three errors, making him the first Red Sox first baseman since Mo Vaughn in 1993 to reach that mark.

“He’s still learning the position,” Cora said. “He didn’t play much at first base. It was better than last year, but obviously there’s going to be plays where it’s the first time it’s happened or he’s going to rush to do it.

“It’s just hard. No matter how it goes or whatever, when you don’t play good defense, this is what happens.”

Sloppy baseball set the stage for Josh Naylor’s heroics in the ninth. With the game tied 6-6, Naylor hit Tanner Houck’s 2-0 shot over the left-field wall to give the Guardians the decisive lead.

The rest is for outside

2. Houck’s homer to Naylor was the first of the season he allowed on a slider, according to Baseball Savant. Opponents are hitting just .152 with an XBA of .202 when Houck throws his slider — which makes up 40.6 percent of his pitches.

3. The Red Sox wasted Bobby Dalbec’s best day of the season. Dalbec hit twice — a pair of doubles — and drove in the fifth run with a sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the fourth.

Dalbec told reporters after the game that a smooth swing has been key to his recent improvements, but he doesn’t believe being more comfortable at third base has affected him at the plate.

As for his bruise? Field training at first base.

“He caught me first of the day,” said the quiet Dalbec with a slight smile.

4. In his second start since returning from a sore back, Nathan Eovaldi had some early trouble — three runs in the second, two more in the fourth — but said he got stronger as the game went on. Only three of the five runs against him were earned.

“I felt like I was driving the ball a lot better,” Eovaldi said. “I felt as the game went on that I was getting stronger. I felt like I was able to locate pitches better and get out quicker as the game went on, so that’s really encouraging for me.

“All the work we’ve put in, we’re definitely getting back to where we need to be.”

5. Chaim Bloom spoke to the media before the game and acknowledged that the standings — where the Red Sox currently sit at the bottom — plays a role in his decision-making as the trade deadline approaches.

“We are not very happy with how it looks at the moment. We have to take that into account,” said Bloom. “Every game moves that needle one way or another. It doesn’t change our opinion of the talent at the club, but it does change our situation.

Part of it is that we’re in a really good league, but that’s no excuse. We have to be fair. If we don’t turn it around, we won’t get where we want to go.”

Bloom noted that Rafael Devers, Kiké Hernández and Chris Sale were out, but acknowledged that the Red Sox are not a perfect lineup.

“Obviously, we haven’t been playing well lately,” Bloom said. “They destroyed us and we didn’t play well. I think we have a good team. I think we have a very talented team.”

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