Red Sox win 5th straight; Reds beat Phillies twice in one day

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Red Sox win 5th straight; Reds beat Phillies twice in one day

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Cincinnati Reds’ Zack Cozart (2) is congratulated by Mike Leake (44) and Joey Votto (19) after hitting a home run off Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Raul Valdes on Wednesday. [AP/NEWSIS]

CLEVELAND - Their minds more at ease after two harrowing days, the Red Sox won again.

Converted closer Alfredo Aceves coasted through five innings, Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava drove in two runs apiece and the Red Sox, bonded by the tragedy in Boston, struck quickly against Justin Masterson and beat the Cleveland Indians, 6-3, on Wednesday night for their fifth straight win.

After Boston’s bullpen closed the game with four perfect innings, there was music again in the clubhouse and players gobbled down their postgame meals while watching NBA and MLB games on TVs. Finally, the horrific images aren’t everywhere.

And in the middle of the room, the “617 Boston Strong’’ jersey hung for all to see.

“A good all-around game,” manager John Farrell said. “A very good game.”

Aceves (1-0), who began the season as a reliever after serving as Boston’s primary closer in 2012, took a shutout into the sixth before giving up three runs. Andrew Bailey, filling in for injured closer Joel Hanrahan, worked the ninth for his first save.

Napoli had an RBI single in the first when the Red Sox scored three off Masterson (3-1), who has already beaten two Cy Young Award winners this season and came in without allowing a run in 19 straight innings.

Nick Swisher and Jason Giambi homered for the Indians, who dropped their third in a row.

The Red Sox hung the gray “617” jersey in their dugout, just as they did for Tuesday’s emotional series opener - one day after the deadly marathon bombings back home. The jersey, featuring Boston’s area code, has become a symbol of unity for the club, which will be back at Fenway Park on Friday to open a 10-game homestand.

In Cincinnati, Jay Bruce hit a pair of bases-loaded singles that sent the Cincinnati Reds to a couple of wins on Wednesday, 1-0, over the Philadelphia Phillies in the conclusion of a suspended game and 11-2 in the later one. It was quite a turnaround for the Reds, who went from dropping five in a row to winning two games in one day. The Reds completed their first sweep of the Phillies since 1996, taking advantage of Philadelphia’s struggles on offense to pull out of their slide. It reminded manager Dusty Baker of an acquaintance’s favorite saying.

“Like Gary Matthews said, the only thing better than hits are more hits,” Baker said. “It was a beautiful thing tonight. It’s hard to figure. We get swept in Pittsburgh and then come here and sweep these guys. If anybody figures this game out, I hope they tell me.”

First, they finished a game suspended overnight by rain. Several hundred fans were in the stands to see Phillippe Aumont (1-2) pick the game up in the bottom of the ninth and give up Bruce’s bases-loaded single four batters later.

The crowd was 16,467 for the series finale, which started an hour and a half later. Bruce had a big hand in that one, too.

He had a bases-loaded single to right field - just like the last one - that highlighted a five-run rally in the second inning off left-hander John Lannan (0-1), who was bothered by tendinitis in his left knee. The Phillies managed only four runs and 13 hits while getting swept. They didn’t even get to swing the bat during the conclusion of the suspended game.

AP

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