The Boston Red Sox completed a two game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday afternoon. Rookie right-hander Anthony Ranaudo pitched well enough to keep the Sox in the game and Mike Napoli came up with another clutch home run as the Sox beat the Reds 5-4.
Ranaudo, who was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to make the start, allowed eight hits and four runs in six innings pitched. He showed poise as he was able to settle down after giving up solo home runs to Skip Schumaker and Reds starting pitcher Mike Leake in the bottom of the fourth to give the Reds a 3-2 lead.
The Red Sox offense immediately responded in the top of the fifth inning. With two outs, Yoenis Cespedes came through with an RBI single and Napoli followed with a 361-foot blast to give the Sox a 5-3 lead. It was Napoli’s 15th homer of the season and second of the trip. The homerun wasn’t as monstrous as the one by Cespedes on Tuesday night, but it delivered the same results. He told reporters after the game, “In those situations I’m just trying to drive the ball and I got a pitch I can handle.”
It was the type of clutch hit the Red Sox have grown accustomed to the last few games, especially on their current three-game winning streak. Napoli also made reference to how the team has been playing. He said, “It was nice to have a winning road trip. We’re playing better baseball. I thought there were a couple more games we could’ve had.” The Red Sox have had strong starting pitching to go along with clutch hitting on the road trip.
With the victory, Ranaudo (2-0) became the first rookie pitcher to win his first two starts. Relief pitchers Burke Badenhop and Junichi Tazawa pitched a perfect seventh and eighth inning before Edward Mujica finished the game with his third save of the season. Although Leake (9-11) contributed offensively for the Reds, he only lasted five innings. He gave up five runs on eight hits in his shortest outing in his last 11 starts.