CINCINNATI (AP) — Mitch Moreland ended his long slump with a three-run homer, Eduardo Rodriguez pitched three-hit ball into the eighth inning, and the Boston Red Sox took another step toward a second straight AL East title, beating the Cincinnati Reds 5-0 on Saturday.
Boston has won 13 of 16, holding off the Yankees as it tries to win back-to-back East titles for the first time since divisional realignment in 1969. The Red Sox have their best record of the season at 90-64, reaching 90 wins for the second year in a row.
They remain four games in front of the Yankees, who beat Toronto 5-1.
Moreland was in an 0-for-19 slump when he connected off Robert Stephenson (5-6) in the sixth inning, his 20th homer of the season but only his second in September. The Red Sox are last in the AL with 160 homers.
Rodriguez (6-6) has given up two or fewer earned runs in each of his last four starts, the best stretch of his career. The left-hander gave up three singles and two walks in 7 2/3 innings, his longest outing since May 21.
The Red Sox have shutout victories in three of their last four games, including two at Baltimore. They are 7-1 on a trip that ends Sunday. Boston wraps up the regular season at Fenway Park with three games against Toronto and four against Houston.
Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who grew up in suburban Madeira and had hundreds of relatives and friends in the stands for the series, singled home a run in the seventh at the ballpark where he regularly attended games as a youth.
FATHER AND SON
Reds reliever Luke Farrell, the son of Red Sox manager John Farrell, pitched the ninth and tipped his cap toward the Boston dugout as he left the mound following a scoreless inning. He wears the same No. 52 as his father. The last time a manager faced his son as an opposing player was 2004, when the Giants’ Felipe Alou went against his son Moises of the Cubs.
Red Sox: RF Mookie Betts was scratched from the lineup to get treatment on his left foot. He fouled a pitch off it during his second at-bat on Friday night but stayed in the game. It bothered him running on Saturday pregame. … INF Eduardo Nunez plans to run on Sunday, the next test as he recovers from a sprained knee,
Reds: CF Billy Hamilton broke his left thumb while bunting on Sept. 6 and returned Friday night, getting two hits. He was out of the lineup on Saturday as the Reds ease him back into playing.
Red Sox: Doug Fister (5-8) is 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA in three career starts against the Reds.
Reds: Rookie Jackson Stephens (2-0) makes his third career start. He gave up five runs in 3 2/3 innings of an 8-7 loss to the Cardinals on Tuesday.
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