Red Sox-Reds Live: Mike Napoli’s Home Run Guides Boston To 5-4 Win

Xander BogaertsFinal, Red Sox 5-4: The Reds made things interesting in the ninth inning, but Edward Mujica — filling in for closer Koji Uehara — successfully shut the door.

Skip Schumaker and Zack Cozart began the bottom of the ninth with back-to-back singles. Neither advanced as Mujica recorded three consecutive outs to earn the save.

Ramon Santiago failed to drop down a sacrifice bunt. He bunted a two-strike attempt foul for the inning’s first out.

Billy Hamilton flied out to center field and Kris Negron hit a comebacker. Negron’s sharp grounder back to the mound struck Mujica. The right-hander recovered, picked it up and tossed to first for the game-ending out.

Mike Napoli’s two-run homer in the fifth inning stood as the difference. Yoenis Cespedes tied the game 3-3 with an RBI single into left field, and Napoli followed with an opposite-field bomb into the right field seats.

Anthony Ranaudo lived life on the edge in his second major league start but earned his second win. The 24-year-old allowed four runs on eight hits over six innings. He struck out one and walked one while throwing 91 pitches (61 strikes).

The Red Sox, who went 5-3 on their eight-game, three-city road trip, will return to Fenway Park on Thursday to begin an 11-game homestand.

Mid 9th, Red Sox 5-4: Aroldis Chapman is filthy.

Chapman drilled Jackie Bradley Jr. with a 100 mph fastball to begin the ninth inning. The hard-throwing Reds closer then settled down to record three consecutive strikeouts.

Dan Butler, Corey Brown and Brock Holt all went down swinging.

Brown’s at-bat was his first with the Red Sox. Talk about a difficult introduction.

Koji Uehara is unavailable in this game after pitching in four consecutive contests. Thus, the Red Sox will turn to Edward Mujica in the ninth inning with Boston leading by a run.

End 8th, Red Sox 5-4: Junichi Tazawa continues to be a busy man.

Tazawa tossed a 1-2-3 eighth. He sandwiched a lineout with two K’s.

Devin Mesoraco struck out to begin the inning. Ryan Ludwick struck out to end the inning.

Brayan Pena sizzled a line drive toward the right side with one out. First baseman Mike Napoli timed his jump perfectly and leaped into the air to make a great grab.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 5-4: Sam LeCure took care of business in the eighth inning.

Mike Napoli, Kelly Johnson and Xander Bogaerts went down in order.

Napoli popped out to third baseman Todd Frazier in foul territory. Johnson struck out looking and Bogaerts struck out swinging.

Johnson didn’t look too thrilled about being rung up on a 2-2 fastball. Bogaerts chased a 1-2 curveball in the dirt.

End 7th, Red Sox 5-4: Burke Badenhop did Burke Badenhop things in the seventh inning.

The Hopper induced three straight ground ball outs. Billy Hamilton, Kris Negron and Todd Frazier all put the ball on the ground.

The Red Sox made some defensive changes at the beginning of the inning. Dustin Pedroia remained in the game at second base and Will Middlebrooks stayed in at third base. Brock Holt shifted to right field and Kelly Johnson moved to left field.

2:48 p.m., Red Sox 5-4: Yoenis Cespedes exited the game because of a bruised right hand, according to the Red Sox.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 5-4: The good news? Dustin Pedroia is in the game.

The bad news? Yoenis Cespedes is not.

Pedroia pinch-hit for Daniel Nava against Manny Parra in the seventh inning. He popped out into foul territory for the second out.

Will Middlebrooks then pinch-hit for Cespedes. It’s unclear why Cespedes left the game, but one assumes it’s injury-related. There’s really no other way to explain Middlebrooks batting for Cespedes.

Stay tuned.

End 6th, Red Sox 5-4: Anthony Ranaudo made it through six innings in his first major league start. He’s done so again in this game.

Zack Cozart singled into center field with two outs. Ranaudo retired Chris Heisey to end the inning, though it took a favorable call and a nice defensive play by two players.

Heisey hit a chopper down the third base line. It looked foul, but third base umpire Jordan Baker thought otherwise.

Kelly Johnson made a backhanded play while ranging into foul territory and fired across the diamond. First baseman Mike Napoli laid out but kept his foot on the bag to complete the out.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 5-4: The Reds turned to their big, burly bullpen in the sixth inning.

J.J. Hoover was the first horse trotted out in relief of Mike Leake. He promptly retired the Red Sox in order, picking up a couple of strikeouts along the way.

Jackie Bradley Jr. struck out to begin the inning. Anthony Ranaudo batted for himself with two down and struck out swinging.

Dan Butler, who still is looking for his first major league hit, labeled a line drive toward deep center field with one out. The speedy Billy Hamilton raced back to make a nice running grab.

End 5th, Red Sox 5-4: The Reds cut their deficit in half.

Kris Negron shot a line drive to the wall in left-center field. Jackie Bradley Jr. delivered a strong throw back into the infield, but Negron slide into third base safely for a leadoff triple.

Todd Frazier plated Negron with a sacrifice fly to center field.

Devin Mesoraco nearly dropped a one-out blooper into left field. Xander Bogaerts and Yoenis Cespedes charged in, and Cespedes ultimately made a running basket catch.

Brayan Pena grounded out to end the inning.

Cincinnati has hit some balls hard off Anthony Ranaudo in this game. He’s living life on the edge right now.

Mid 5th, Red Sox 5-3: The Red Sox answered right back.

The combination of Yoenis Cespedes and Mike Napoli helped the Red Sox recapture the lead in the fifth inning after the Reds struck two home runs in the fourth inning.

Brock Holt started things with a one-out double in the fifth. He scored when Cespedes, who apparently has a clutch gene, ripped a game-tying RBI single into left field.

Napoli put Boston on top with a two-run homer into the right field seats. Napoli’s home run was his 15th of the season.

Kelly Johnson added a single before Mike Leake escaped the inning.

End 4th, Reds 3-2: Anthony Ranaudo left a couple of mistakes out over the plate in the fourth inning. The Reds took advantage.

Skip Schumaker turned on a 3-2 fastball up in the zone and drove it into the right field seats. It was a no-doubter.

Pitcher Mike Leake then helped his own cause with two outs. Leake jumped on a first-pitch fastball and deposited it into the left field seats for his second home run of the season.

Mid 4th, Red Sox 2-1: Mike Leake worked a 1-2-3 fourth inning.

The 6-7-8 hitters went down in order for Boston. Xander Bogaerts lined out, Jackie Bradley Jr. grounded out and Dan Butler struck out.

Shortstop Zack Cozart needed to hurry to retire Bradley, who ended his hitless streak with a second-inning single. He did so successfully.

End 3rd, Red Sox 2-1: A sacrifice fly gave the Reds their first run.

Todd Frazier smoked a line drive into the left-center field gap after Kris Negron walked with one out. The ball bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double, likely preventing Negron from scoring.

Negron crossed the plate one batter later when Devin Mesoraco lifted a sac fly to deep left-center field. Mesoraco was swinging for the downs in his at-bat and it paid off.

Frazier also tagged up and took third base, although Jackie Bradley Jr. fired a one-hopper in that direction.

Anthony Ranaudo preserved a one-run lead by retiring Brayan Pena on a popout to second base.

Mid 3rd, Red Sox 2-0: Daniel Nava has a couple of hits.

Nava, who produced an RBI single in the first inning, led off the third inning with a base hit into left field. His average is up to .254, which is rather impressive given the way his 2014 season began.

Yoenis Cespedes grounded into a 5-4 forceout for the inning’s first out. Mike Napoli lined out to left field and Kelly Johnson grounded to second base.

End 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Anthony Ranaudo has been installing the bend, don’t break philosophy in the early going.

Brayan Pena led off with a single into center field. Skip Schumaker added a single with one out.

Ranaudo, like he did in the first inning, successfully worked around the trouble. Zack Cozart popped out to Mike Napoli in foul territory and pitcher Mike Leake grounded to Kelly Johnson at third base.

Mid 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: Jackie Bradley Jr.’s hitless streak is over.

Bradley, who entered the game stuck in a 0-for-35 slump, singled into center field in the second inning. Even more amazing is that it followed a leadoff single from Xander Bogaerts, who had been 2 for his last 25 before collecting two hits in Tuesday’s win.

The Red Sox couldn’t capitalize on the back-to-back singles to open the second inning, though. Mike Leake kept Boston off the board.

Dan Butler grounded to third, where Todd Frazier made the play and tossed to second for a forceout. That set up runners at the corners with one out for pitcher Anthony Ranaudo.

Ranaudo, batting for the first time since high school, dropped down a bunt. Catcher Devin Mesoraco popped out from behind the plate and threw to second base for a bang-bang forceout. Bogaerts was unable to score from third base.

Brock Holt grounded to third base with two down. Frazier barely had enough time to throw out the hustling leadoff man at first base.

End 1st, Red Sox 2-0: Anthony Ranaudo kept the Reds off the scoreboard in the first inning despite Cincinnati putting a runner into scoring position.

Kris Negron singled into right field with one out. Daniel Nava charged in but was forced to field it on a hop.

Negron stole second base with two outs after Todd Frazier flied out to center field. That’s where he’d stay, as Devin Mesoraco, who collected three hits Tuesday, flied out to left field.

Mid 1st, Red Sox 2-0: The Red Sox are looking rather chipper on this Wednesday afternoon. The offense struck for two first-inning runs, just as the Reds’ offense did Tuesday night.

Brock Holt began the ballgame with a walk. He then took second base when Mike Leake threw a pitch in the dirt. Credit Holt for being aggressive and darting for second immediately after Leake’s pitch bounced in front of catcher Devin Mesoraco.

Daniel Nava knocked in Holt with a single into center field.

Nava took third when Yoenis Cespedes grounded out. He scored when Mike Napoli hit a ground ball to the left side.

Nava was off on contact with Napoli batting. Third baseman Todd Frazier made the play and fired home — barely avoiding shortstop Zack Cozart in the process — but Nava slid in ahead of the tag. Mesoraco threw to first in the hopes of still retiring Napoli but to no avail.

12:37 p.m.: Brock Holt digs in. Let’s play some day baseball.

12:28 p.m.: Jay Bruce has been scratched from the Reds’ lineup because of an illness. Ryan Ludwick now will start in left field while Skip Schumaker shifts over to Bruce’s vacated post in right field.

Cincinnati’s new lineup is below.

Cincinnati Reds (60-59)
Billy Hamilton, CF
Kristopher Negron, 2B
Todd Frazier, 3B
Devin Mesoraco, C
Brayan Pena, 1B
Ryan Ludwick, LF
Skip Schumaker, RF
Zack Cozart, SS
Mike Leake, RHP (9-10, 3.42 ERA)

12:10 p.m.: The Red Sox will be without their core Wednesday. David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia will sit.

Ortiz played first base in Tuesday’s series opener, so his absence was expected. Mike Napoli will return to first base.

Pedroia has been heating up offensively of late, but with a day game after a night game, Red Sox manager John Farrell has decided to rest his second baseman. Surely, Pedroia will attempt to force his way into the game at some point, though.

Brock Holt will play second base in Pedroia’s absence. The outfield will consist of Yoenis Cespedes (left field), Jackie Bradley Jr. (center field) and Daniel Nava (right field).

Catcher Dan Butler, like pitcher Anthony Ranaudo, will receive his second major league start. Butler also caught Sunday’s series finale in Anaheim.

Wednesday’s complete lineups are below.

Boston Red Sox (53-65)
Brock Holt, 2B
Daniel Nava, RF
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Mike Napoli, 1B
Kelly Johnson, 3B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Jackie Bradley J. CF
Dan Butler, C
Anthony Ranaudo, RHP (1-0, 3.00 ERA)

Cincinnati Reds (60-59)
Billy Hamilton, CF
Jay Bruce, RF
Todd Frazier, 3B
Devin Mesoraco, C
Brayan Pena, 1B
Kristopher Negron, 2B
Skip Schumaker, LF
Zack Cozart, SS
Mike Leake, RHP (9-10, 3.42 ERA)

11:30 a.m. ET: Brandon Workman will receive a breather this time through the Boston Red Sox’s rotation. As a result, Anthony Ranaudo will make his second major league start Wednesday against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.

Ranaudo, who was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket before Tuesday’s game, earned a win in his first career start Aug. 1 against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. The 24-year-old tossed six innings in which he allowed two runs on four hits and four walks while striking out two. Wednesday’s start will mark his first big league appearance on the road.

Ranaudo certainly has an excellent opportunity placed in front of him, as the Red Sox are using the remainder of the 2014 season to gain a better understanding of where their younger players stand. Ranaudo has been a notch below the likes of Workman, Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster to this point as far as opportunities go, but another strong outing could force Boston to reevaluate its rotation situation.

The Red Sox enter Wednesday’s matinee clash in Cincy on the heels of back-to-back wins. Yoenis Cespedes produced a clutch home run in each, so perhaps the Cuban slugger will create some more magic before Boston returns home for an 11-game homestand starting Thursday.

Wednesday’s first pitch is scheduled for 12:35 p.m. Tune in on NESN and stick around with NESN.com’s live blog.

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