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Devers' homer helps Red Sox past Reds

The Sports Xchange
September 22. 2017 10:23PM
Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts is congratulated in the dugout after scoring against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. (David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports)

CINCINNATI — Rafael Devers hit a three-run homer during a four-run fourth inning and the Boston Red Sox held on for a 5-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the opener of a three-game series on Friday night at Great American Ball Park.

First-place Boston (89-64) leads the New York Yankees by four games in the American League East standings. The Yankees lost 8-1 at Toronto on Friday night, reducing Boston’s magic number to six to clinch the division.

The Red Sox already have clinched a postseason berth.

David Price (6-3) pitched 2 2/3 innings, allowing three hits with a walk and three strikeouts to earn the victory.

Craig Kimbrel allowed a single in the ninth inning for his 34th save of the season.

Second baseman Scooter Gennett hit a grand slam off Rick Porcello in the first inning to put Cincinnati ahead 4-1.

It was Gennett’s fourth grand slam of the season to set a Reds’ single-season franchise record.

Rookie Sal Romano (5-7) took the loss for Cincinnati (66-88), which lost its fourth straight game.

Romano, a Long Island, N.Y. native and long-time Yankees fan, was looking forward to facing the Red Sox. But, he didn’t have his best outing, allowing five earned runs with four walks and Devers’ three-run shot through four innings.

Right-hander Rick Porcello started for Boston and had a rare rough outing on the road, after posting a 1.35 ERA in his previous three starts away from Fenway Park. On Friday, he gave up four earned runs -- all on Gennett’s grand slam -- with three walks and three strikeouts.

The Red Sox loaded the bases with no outs in the first inning, but managed only one run on Mitch Moreland’s sacrifice fly.

Cincinnati, however, cashed in on its bases-loaded chance in the bottom half of the frame to end Boston’s streak of 26 consecutive scoreless innings.

Following a single by Billy Hamilton, double by Zack Cozart, and a walk to Joey Votto, Gennett crushed Porcello’s first pitch deep into the right-field seats for his 27th home run this season and fifth career grand slam.

Boston regained the lead against Romano when Devers clobbered his ninth home run of the season, a three-run shot in the fourth inning to put the Red Sox ahead 5-4.

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