BOSTON (AP) — Another tight game. Another one-run loss for the Cincinnati Reds.
Will Middlebrooks hit an RBI single with the bases loaded, capping a two-run rally in the eighth inning that sent the Boston Red Sox over Cincinnati 4-3 Wednesday night for a sweep of the two-game interleague series.
It was the Reds' major league-leading 11th one-run loss, and it unraveled with two walks by relievers.
"Your decisions only work when they work out. This is a second guessers' delight. I understand that," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We needed to throw the ball over. You can live with getting hit, giving up hits and giving up runs. I know walks are part of the game, too."
With the Reds holding a 3-2 lead in the eighth, Mike Napoli drew a one-out walk from Manny Parra, J.J. Hoover (1-4) walked pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes and A.J. Pierzynski's ground-rule double tied it at 3. Jackie Bradley Jr. was intentionally walked before Middlebrooks sent a hard grounder up the middle.
"We play a lot of low-scoring, one-run games," Price said. "We're battling and we'll be whole soon, but until then we've got to find a way to create some distance between ourselves and our opponent."
Cincinnati starter Mike Leake pitched seven strong innings and was in line for the win before Boston rallied. He gave up two runs on eight hits, walking two and striking out four.
"It was a pretty cool night. I grew up watching (Jake) Peavy and it was pretty fun to pitch against him," Leake said. "We had pretty good hitting and played pretty good defense. We just couldn't put it together in the end there."
David Ortiz and Napoli also drove in runs for the World Series champion Red Sox, who reached .500 for the first time since the fourth game of the season.
Skip Schumaker hit a two-run homer for Cincinnati, who lost the opener to Boston 4-3 in 12 innings.
Craig Breslow (2-0), who also got the win in Tuesday's game, pitched one hitless inning. Koji Uehara struck out the final three batters for his eighth save.