CINCINNATI -- Takeaways from the Queen City, where the Red Sox clinched their first winning road trip of more than three games for the first time this season.
THE RESULT: Boston clinched a 5-3 record away from Fenway with their 5-4 win over the Reds Wednesday afternoon at Great American Ball Park in front of 32,870 fans. Red Sox pitcher Anthony Ranaudo earned his second victory in as many career starts.
CESPEDES SUFFERS HAND INJURY: It was announced in the seventh inning that Yoenis Cespedes had left the game due to a right hand contusion. Both Daniel Nava and Cespedes were pinch-hit for in the seventh. Dustin Pedroia, who was supposed to get a day off, pinch hit for Nava and popped out in foul territory before filling in at second. Will Middlebrooks pinch hit for Cespedes and struck out.
SECOND CHANCE FOR NAPOLI : Mike Napoli had a shot Tuesday night to be a hero, but he struck out. Wednesday was a different story. Playing first base, Napoli watched as his team tied the game 3-3 in the fifth. (Cespedes again came up with a big hit to drive in a run before leaving the game.)
Then it was Napoli’s turn. After two consecutive balls, Napoli turned on a Mike Leake pitch and send it 361 feet into the right-field seats for a 5-3 Red Sox lead. It was Napoli’s 15th homer of the season and provided the difference in the game.
NAVA DOES IT AGAIN: After igniting Tuesday night’s comeback, Nava got the party started earlier on Wednesday.
Leake walked leadoff batter Brock Holt, and a wild pitch sent him to second, when Nava came up to bat in another important situation. He worked the count to 1-2 before fouling off a sharp liner to the first-base side. Then he sent another screamer foul of the third-base side.
The next time was the charm as Nava straightened out a single right up the middle, scoring Holt. Nava was able to advance to second on Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton’s throw home, and was eventually driven in by Napoli. In a blink, the Red Sox had a 2-0 lead.
In the third, Nava notched another single to start the inning, but was thrown out at second on a Cespedes fielder’s choice and the Red Sox would not score.
HISTORY REPEATS? Leake began Wednesday’s game much like Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly did Tuesday night, getting into trouble early (partly because of a leadoff walk), giving up two runs and inducing a big double play to help get out of an inning. The question was, could the Reds muster a comeback the way the Red Sox did?
Ranaudo fared well, just as he did in his first start against the Yankees on Aug. 1. The 24-year-old earned the win that day, giving up two runs. On Wednesday, he had just enough -- and was given just enough offensive help -- to notch another win. In six innings, he allowed 8 hits, 4 earned runs, 1 walk and 2 home runs on 91 pitches.
THE STREAK IS OVER: Is anyone happier than Jackie Bradley Jr.? In the second inning, Bradley was at bat with Xander Bogaerts on first base and no outs. Nearly everyone knew that Bradley had been struggling with an 0-for-35 slump at the plate. He pounced on a Leake offering and sent it into center field to end the streak.
It looked as though the Red Sox would use those hits to add to their score, but a seemingly botched squeeze play, along with a great play by Reds third baseman Todd Frazier off a grounder from Holt, ended the inning.
Bradley went 1-for-3 with a strikeout -- and he got plunked by fireballer Reds closer Aroldis Chapman in the ninth. He then stole his eighth base of the season.
SHOT WAS THERE: Leake could have helped himself in the second when he came to the plate with two on and two outs. Known as a good-hitting pitcher, he worked the count to 3-1 before grounding out to third and ending the inning.
The Reds got on the board in the third inning, when Kris Negron worked a one-out walk from Ranaudo. Frazier followed with a double to the center-field wall, which sent Negron to third, and Devin Mesoraco sacrificed the run in with a warning-track blast. That cut the lead to 2-1.
In the fourth, it was two Reds players not known for power who flexed their muscles. Skip Schumaker worked a 3-2 count before Ranaudo hung a pitch, and Schumaker made him pay with a 411-foot solo shot to right field (it was Schumaker’s second home run of the season). After an out, Leake helped his own cause, turning on the first pitch he saw and sending a 358-foot homer into the left-field seats to give his team a 3-2 lead.
The wheels came off for Leake in the fifth. His line: 5 innings, 8 hits, 5 earned runs, 1 walk, 1 home run in 89 pitches.