The Red Sox won the first two meetings in Boston back in May and on Wednesday claimed their fourth straight against the Reds as they won 5-4 at Great American Ballpark.
The Reds (60-60) split their six game homestand that included two two-game series. While they were able to take both from Cleveland, they lost both to Boston (54-65) and also lost two of three to the red-hot Marlins. With the loss, Cincinnati now falls six games behind Milwaukee (66-54) for first place in the NL Central and are three games back of the Wild Card, which is also being occupied by NL Central contenders Pittsburgh (64-55) and St. Louis (62-57).
Boston rode its momentum from Tuesday's night's comeback victory to a big first inning. Mike Leake (9-11) was shaky throughout the first fame as he walked Brock Holt and then advanced him to second with a wild pitch. Daniel Nava followed with an RBI single and then moved to second on the throw. That proved costly as two ground balls from Yoesnis Cespedes and Mike Napoli were able move over and then score Nava to make it 2-0 Red Sox early.
The Reds had a runner in scoring position in the first two innings, but didn't come through until the third when Kristopher Negron walked and then Todd Frazier hit a ground rule double. That set up a sac fly by Devin Mesoraco to get the Reds on the board against Anthony Renaudo (2-0).
Cincinnati took a 3-2 lead in the fourth thanks to solo homers from Skip Schumaker and to his pitching counterpart Leake. The home run was number two for Leake which ties a career best and is his fourth career homer in four seasons.
Leake's celebration was short lived as the Red Sox came roaring back in the top of the fifth when Holt doubled and then Cespedes made it back-to-back games with a game-tying or go ahead RBI. He hit a go ahead homer of Jonathan Broxton in the eighth inning on Tuesday. Cespedes then scored the go ahead run when Napoli hit a two-run homer that just cleared the right field wall to make it 5-3.
Cincinnati quickly responded when Negron tripled and then Frazier scored him on a sac fly to cut the deficit to one. That would be as close as the Reds got as Ranaudo and a trio of relievers shut the Reds down. J.J Hoover, Sam LeCure and Aroldis Chapman all kept it close to try and give the Reds a chance in the ninth.
Former Cardinals reliever Edward Mujica came on for his third save of the season and was welcomed with back-to-back singles by Schumaker and Zach Cozart. The rallied died there as Ramon Santiago failed to bunt the runners over, then Billy Hamilton flew out and Negron grounded out to Mujica to end the game.
Cincinnati now takes to the road for the next seven games starting in Colorado on Thursday and then finishing in St. Louis next Wednesday. Alfredo Simon (12-7, 3.08 ERA) looks for his first win since July 9 having lost his last four decisions and only turning in one quality start in his last five outings. He'll be opposed by Jorge De La Rosa (11-8, 4.34 ERA) in the series opener.