CINCINATTI Mike Napoli had the perfect scenario. He didn’t waste it.
Napoli hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs to help the Boston Red Sox wrap up their first winning road trip of more than three games this season with a 5-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.
“It was nice to have a winning road trip,” the Boston first baseman said. “We’re playing better baseball. I thought there were a couple more games we could’ve had.”
Napoli took advantage of a 2-0 fastball from Reds starter Mike Leake in a ballpark known for yielding home runs.
“He got a fastball down and away, and he’s a pretty good opposite-field hitter,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “In this ballpark, that’s a decisive combination.”
Right-hander Anthony Ranaudo became the first Boston rookie to start his career 2-0 since Justin Masterson won his first three in 2008 and the Red Sox finished their eight-game trip with five wins.
Skip Schumaker and Cincinnati starting pitcher Mike Leake each hit their second home runs of the season, but the Reds still ended their seven-game home stand with a 3-4 record after opening by sweeping a two-game interleague series against in-state rival Cleveland.
“It is certainly frustrating,” Schumaker said. “Mike gives us a chance to win every time out. It would have been nice to give him a chance or take him off the hook.”
Burke Badenhop and Junichi Tazawa each pitched one perfect inning before Edward Mujica overcame back-to-back leadoff singles in the ninth for his third save.
Schumaker and Leake each hit solo home runs in the bottom of the fourth to give the Reds a 3-2 lead. The Red Sox immediately responded with two outs in the fifth on Yoenis Cespedes’ RBI single and Napoli’s 361-foot, opposite-field homer to right, his 15th homer of the season and second of the trip.
Ranaudo allowed eight hits and four runs with one walk and one strikeout in six innings.
Leake (9-11) lasted five innings, his shortest outing in 11 starts since going five innings on June 15 at Milwaukee. He allowed eight hits and five runs with one walk and three strikeouts.
Boston reached Leake for two runs with just one hit in the first. Leake’s wild pitch set up Daniel Nava’s RBI single, and Nava later scored on Napoli’s slow grounder to third baseman Todd Frazier, whose throw home was too late to get the runner.