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Red Sox Beat Reds 4-3, Sweep Series


BOSTON – It took nine tries but the Red Sox finally got back to .500 Wednesday night for the first time since April 4, beating the Reds, 4-3, at Fenway Park.

The Sox scored two runs in eighth to come from behind for the win. Will Middlebrooks bases-loaded single to center scored Jonny Gomes with the go-ahead run after A.J. Pierzynski’s ground-rule double scored Mike Napoli with the tying run.

The Sox improve to 17-17, 10-11 at home, 5-3 on the homestand.

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Right-hander Jake Peavy was not involved in the decision. He went six innings (plus three batters in the seventh), giving up three runs on four hits and four walks with four strikeouts.

Peavy gave up a third-inning home run to Skip Schumaker, scoring Chris Heisey, who led off with a double. Peavy has allowed one home run in each of his seven starts.

Craig Breslow earned the win, with Koji Uehara getting his eighth save in as many opportunities.

The Sox tied the game in sixth, sending eight batters to the plate to face Reds starter Mike Leake. Jonathan Herrera led off with a single, taking third on Shane Victorino’s one-out single, and scoring on David Ortiz’s single. Mike Napoli’s double scored Victorino with the tying run.

But the Reds got a run in the seventh when the first three batters reached base against Peavy – Todd Frazier with a double, Brayan Pena with a single, and Ryan Ludwick with a walk – ending Peavy’s outing.

Chris Capuano entered to face Roger Bernadina, whose groundout scored Frazier with the go-ahead run.

Burke Badenhop replaced Capuano, getting two groundball outs to stop further damage.

THE HIGHLIGHTS:
• Middlebrooks got the game-winning hit, driving in Jonny Gomes to give the Sox the lead in the eighth inning, their only lead of the game.
• Peavy went six innings (plus three batters), giving up three runs on four this and four walks with four strikeouts and a home run for his sixth quality start in seven outings.
• Uehara struck out the side in the ninth for his eighth save in eight opportunities.

THE LOWLIGHTS:
• The Sox hit into inning-ending double plays in the first and fifth innings.
• The Sox left the bases loaded in the sixth inning after scoring two runs.
• Dustin Pedroia matched a career high for the second time by striking out four times.

THE STARS:
• Middlebrooks had been 3 for his last 23 with no RBI in that span before his single to give the Sox the lead in the eighth. It was his second career go-ahead hit in the eighth inning or later.
• A.J. Pierzynski’s ground-rule double earlier in the inning tied the game.

WHAT’S HAPPENING:
• The Sox improved their hitting with runners in scoring position, going 4-for-11 in such situations. They also improved to 2-12 when trailing after the seventh inning and 5-8 in one-run games.
• Sox starting pitchers have allowed three or fewer runs in their last eight starts, allowing a total of 14 earned runs over 52 innings for a 2.42 ERA in that span.

AROUND THE BASES:
• Peavy has allowed one home run in each of his seven starts this season. He remained undefeated against the Reds, going 6-0 in 11 career starts.
• Middlebrooks’ eighth-inning RBI hit was just the second of his career in the eighth inning or later.
• Napoli went 1-for-3 with a run scored, an RBI, a walk, and a double. He extended his career-high on-base streak to 28 games and has reached in 30 of his last 31 games. It is the longest on-base streak by a Sox batter since Dustin Pedroia reached in 28 straight games from Sept. 21, 2012 – April 21, 2013, and longest in single season since Pedroia reached in 37 straight in 2011.
• Burke Badenhop went two-thirds of a scoreless inning, and has not allowed a run over his last 12 innings.
• Uehara’s ninth inning is the fourth time this season he has struck out the side and second time he did so in a perfect inning.

UP NEXT:
The Sox have an off-day Thursday before starting a two-city, six-game road trip to Texas and Minnesota on Friday. The Sox are 7-6 on the road this season.

Right-hander Clay Buchholz is scheduled to start Friday, opposed by Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish.

Buchholz is 1-3 with a 3.30 ERA, giving up 11 earned runs in 30 innings against the Rangers. In that span he has 23 strikeouts with 10 walks. He last faced the Rangers on July 24, 2012, in Arlington. He took a no-decision in that game, going seven innings, giving up one run on four hits and three walks with one strikeout.