Mike Napoli powers Red Sox to short series sweep


Following a 5-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday afternoon at Great American Ball Park, the Boston Red Sox find themselves on the winning end of a two-game set on the road and four of five overall.

“I saw one guy on Twitter saying they still (have) a chance this year,” wrote BSI’s Drew Peabody in an email.

While a playoff push may not be realistic for the Olde Towne Team, now 11 games under .500, it sure is nice to see them win with their revamped roster. On Wednesday, 2013 stalwart Mike Napoli was the difference, blasting a two-run home run to right-center in the fifth inning that put the Red Sox ahead to stay.

Napoli’s blast made a winner of right-hander Anthony Ranaudo (2-0), now the proud owner of victories in his first two Major League starts. This one was a bit more bumpy than the first, as he yielded eight hits and four runs to the Reds, striking out a batter and walking another.

Brock Holt and Daniel Nava hooked up to give Ranaudo the early lead, Holt walking and advancing to second on a wild pitch before Nava drove him in. Nava advanced to second on the throw, moved to third on a Yoenis Cespedes ground out, and scored on a Napoli fielder’s choice for a 2-0 Boston lead.

A Todd Frazier ground rule double and Devin Mesoraco sac fly combined to bring in Kris Negron for the Reds in the third, while the almighty Skip Schumaker and pitcher Mike Leake hit solo homers in the fourth to put Cincy up, 3-2.

Holt then keyed the fifth inning rally, starting things off with a double. Cespedes later singled to score Holt, and Napoli capped Leake’s (9-11) afternoon with the blast, scoring Cespedes for a 5-3 advantage.

The Reds scored again in the fifth to get within one but that was it. Burke Badenhop and Junichi Tazawa submitted clean innings before Edward Mujica closed things out for his third save despite two ninth inning singles.

Cespedes left the game in the seventh inning with a hand contusion. The move was said to have been precautionary.

The Red Sox return to Fenway to host the Astros Thursday night at 7:10 with Allen Webster (2-1, 4.91) on the mound.