CINCINNATI — Yoenis Cespedes hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning, lifting the Boston Red Sox to a 3-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds last night.
One pitch after ducking away from Jonathan Broxton’s high-and-inside fastball, Cespedes launched a 433-foot drive to center field with two outs and Brock Holt on second base.
“Some guys it may affect in a negative way, some guys it may get them more excited to hit,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “And that certainly wasn’t the intent of the pitch. We jammed him inside in his first two at-bats, and he can be dangerous if you go away and don’t get away. That’s what good hitters do, they don’t miss mistakes. They don’t foul them off, they hit them.”
Facing the top of the order and holding a one-run lead in the eight, Broxton relieved Mat Latos and gave up a leadoff single to Holt before retiring Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz to bring up Cespedes.
With Holt on second, Broxton's first pitch was a 94-mph fastball that shooed Cespedes off the plate. Broxton never looked at him as he got the throw back from catcher Devin Mesoraco, but Cespedes stared out at the Reds pitcher.
On the next pitch, Cespedes hit his 19th homer of the season and second with Boston — one in each of the past two games. He has reached base at least once in all nine games he has played for the Red Sox since they acquired him from the Oakland Athletics in a trade.
“I think had we gotten much further down in the count, we probably would have walked him and gone after (Daniel) Nava,” Price said. “That being said, I never thought about walking Cespedes there unless we would have gotten ourselves in a terrible count, and 1-and-0 isn’t a terrible count.”
The Reds got on the board early, as Joe Kelly started the game with seven straight balls — walking Billy Hamilton and falling behind Jay Bruce 3-and-0. Kelly’s eighth pitch was a strike — but Hamilton stole his 44th base on the pitch and then went to third base on catcher Christian Vazquez’s throw into center field.
Bruce walked, setting up Todd Frazier, who reached for a pitch outside on a full count and shot it into left field for an RBI single. Mesoraco followed with a single to center, making it 2-0.
C. Trent Rosecrans of The Cincinnati Enquirer contributed to this story.