CINCINNATI (AP) — Rafael Devers hit a three-run homer Friday night, and the Boston Red Sox extended their AL East lead to four games by overcoming Scooter Gennett’s fourth grand slam of the season for a 5-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
Boston added to its lead with the help of the Yankees’ 8-1 loss at Toronto. The Red Sox have won 12 of 15, keeping the Yankees at bay while moving a season-high 25 games over .500 (89-64).
Their AL Cy Young Award winner is still struggling heading into playoff time.
Rick Porcello gave up Gennett’s fourth grand slam — a Reds’ season record — in the first inning. He lasted a season-low four innings, turning a 5-4 lead over to the bullpen. Porcello has lost 17 games — most in the majors — after winning 22 last year along with the Cy Young.
Part of Porcello’s problem has been a lack of run support. Boston has been blanked while he’s on the mound in 10 of his losses. This time, the Red Sox got him off the hook, overcoming Gennett’s career-high 27th homer with the help of Devers’ three-run shot off Sal Romano (5-7).
The Red Sox are last in the AL with 159 homers.
Left-hander David Price (6-3) pitched 2 2/3 innings and contributed a single, bringing the Red Sox to the front of the dugout for a celebration. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 34th save in 38 chances. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last 10 appearances.
Gennett was claimed off waivers from Milwaukee late in spring training. He has provided some of the Reds’ best moments in an 88-loss season, including a four-homer game on June 6. His homer off Porcello ended the Red Sox’ streak of 26 straight scoreless innings.
Red Sox: INF Eduardo Nunez is increasing his daily workouts as he recovers from a sprained knee, but isn’t close to a full return. “We have to see some marked improvement,” manager John Farrell said. “First thing would be a potential pinch-hit situation. We’re not going to risk anything until we get him on the base paths and get a better feel for what he’s capable of doing.”
Reds: CF Billy Hamilton was back in the lineup for the first time since he broke his left thumb on Sept. 6 while bunting. He had two singles and was caught stealing when he over-slid second base.
Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (5-6) is 1-1 with a 2.55 ERA in his last three starts. He’s 2-2 in eight career interleague starts.
Reds: Rookie Robert Stephenson (5-5) is 5-1 with a 2.84 ERA in his last six starts.
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