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Reds lose another close game, edged by Red Sox 4-3 in 2-game sweep

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BOSTON - Another tight game. Another one-run loss for the Cincinnati Reds.

Will Middlebrooks hit an RBI single with the bases loaded, capping a two-run rally in the eighth inning that sent the Boston Red Sox over Cincinnati 4-3 Wednesday night for a sweep of the two-game interleague series.

It was the Reds' major league-leading 11th one-run loss, and it unraveled with two walks by relievers.

"Your decisions only work when they work out. This is a second guessers' delight. I understand that," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We needed to throw the ball over. You can live with getting hit, giving up hits and giving up runs. I know walks are part of the game, too."

With the Reds holding a 3-2 lead in the eighth, Mike Napoli drew a one-out walk from Manny Parra, J.J. Hoover (1-4) walked pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes and A.J. Pierzynski's ground-rule double tied it at 3. Jackie Bradley Jr. was intentionally walked before Middlebrooks sent a hard grounder up the middle.

"We play a lot of low-scoring, one-run games," Price said. "We're battling and we'll be whole soon, but until then we've got to find a way to create some distance between ourselves and our opponent."

Cincinnati starter Mike Leake pitched seven strong innings and was in line for the win before Boston rallied. He gave up two runs on eight hits, walking two and striking out four.

"It was a pretty cool night. I grew up watching (Jake) Peavy and it was pretty fun to pitch against him," Leake said. "We had pretty good hitting and played pretty good defence. We just couldn't put it together in the end there."

David Ortiz and Napoli also drove in runs for the World Series champion Red Sox, who reached .500 for the first time since the fourth game of the season.

Skip Schumaker hit a two-run homer for Cincinnati, who lost the opener to Boston 4-3 in 12 innings.

Craig Breslow (2-0), who also got the win in Tuesday's game, pitched one hitless inning. Koji Uehara struck out the final three batters for his eighth save.

Peavy allowed three or fewer runs for the sixth time in seven starts, giving up three runs on four hits with four walks and five strikeouts.

The Reds took a 3-2 lead in the seventh when Roger Bernadina bounced a slow groundout to second against reliever Chris Capuano with the bases loaded.

In the bottom half, left fielder Chris Heisey made a nice inning-ending running catch on Shane Victorino's liner into the gap with the tying run on second.

Boston tied it with a pair of runs in the sixth on a run-scoring single by Ortiz and RBI double by Napoli. It could have been worse for Leake, but Grady Sizemore bounced to second with runners on second and third and, after an intentional walk, Bradley Jr. hit an inning-ending grounder.

Schumaker, who came off the 15-day disabled list on Saturday after being sidelined since spring training with a dislocated left shoulder, homered in the third after Heisey had a leadoff double.

The teams bounced into a combined five double plays, with the Red Sox turning three.

NOTES: Leake had given up eight hits and four runs over seven innings in each of his last two starts. ... Reds RHP Alfredo Simon turned 33 Wednesday. ... The Reds are off until Friday, when they open a six-game homestand against Colorado with RHP Johnny Cueto (3-2, 1.31 ERA) going against RHP Jhoulys Chacin (0-1, 7.20). After Peavy, Chacin is the second of four straight starting pitchers the Reds are scheduled to face with the first letter of their first name starting with the letter "J." The Rockies will are also slated pitch RHP Jordan Lyles and Juan Nicasio.

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