CINCINNATI (AP) -- Thirty-three years later, the Red Sox still couldn't win in Cincinnati.
Jay Bruce and Adam Dunn hit solo homers Friday night and right-hander Aaron Harang got his first victory in a month, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-1 interleague victory that had a historic backdrop.Boston hadn't come to town since the 1975 World Series, when the Reds took two of three at Riverfront Stadium. The Big Red Machine then went back to Fenway Park, overcame Carlton Fisk's dramatic wave-it-fair homer that ended Game 6, and won the championship in seven.As a reminder of those glory days, the Reds showed off their '75 championship trophy at the ballpark and played highlights on the scoreboard.The franchises have met only once since that drama. The Reds went to Fenway for an interleague series in 2005 and got swept and roughed up, outscored 23-4 in the three games.Back home, the Reds were back on top."Just showing we can play with those teams is great," Bruce said. "That was a good game, really tough. It could have busted out either way."Harang (3-9) hadn't won since May 12, losing his last four starts. The right-hander also was coming off his worst performance of the season -- eight runs in 5 1/3 innings of a 9-2 loss in Florida on Sunday.He was back in form against Boston, allowing four hits and one run in seven innings. The Reds' top starter had a long talk with the coaches and decided he had to change his mind-set."They basically told me, 'You've got to get back to being the normal you. You've got to be aggressive," said Harang, who struck out seven and didn't walk a batter. "I was trying too hard to do too much and not being myself."Francisco Cordero gave up a single in the ninth before finishing for his 13th save in 16 chances.Rookie Justin Masterson (3-1) gave up three runs and struck out a career-high nine in 6 2/3 innings during his first career start on the road. This one came about an hour's drive from his hometown of Beavercreek, and a lot of family and friends were in the stands.The 23-year-old pitcher got a loud ovation when he left the game."I think Beavercreek was very well represented," Masterson said. "You always want to be perfect when you go out in front of your friends and family, but Aaron Harang was really good today."That was probably the best I've felt. The ball was sinking really good. For the most part, my slider was moving. I hung a few pitches."The series features a pair of sluggers who recently reached milestones.Boston's Manny Ramirez flied out to Ken Griffey Jr. at the wall in right field during his first at-bat, then singled home a run in the fourth inning. Ramirez became the 24th player to reach 500 homers on May 31, and has been on a tear lately -- six homers in his last 12 games.The RBI was the 1,653rd of his career, breaking a tie with Tony Perez for 24th place on the career list. He left the game in the seventh with a sore right hamstring, which has been bothering him lately. Manager Terry Francona will give him a day off on Saturday."He said he was really feeling it, so we took him out," Francona said. "We'll wait until he's better than to try to run him out there."Griffey became the sixth player to get 600 homers last Monday in Florida, but has yet to get on a home run tear. He went 1-for-3 with a walk on Friday.Two others provided the biggest swings.Bruce led off the bottom of the first with his fourth homer, connecting on a hanging slider. The homer touched off another round of "BRUUUUCE" cheers from the crowd of 38,855. Since he was called up on May 27, Bruce has batted .382 with four homers."I'd just thrown him a slider, and he swung over the top," Masterson said. "It wasn't a bad pitch, he just got enough of it."Dunn hit his 17th homer in the fourth inning, nonchalantly blowing a bubble as he rounded the bases. Joey Votto doubled home another run later in the inning, making it 3-1.
The last Red Sox pitcher to win in Cincinnati: Luis Tiant, who won the fourth game of the 1975 Series. ... RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka is expected to pitch in a minor league game Monday as part of his comeback from a sore shoulder. He could come off the DL next weekend. ... C Jason Varitek was out of the lineup for a second straight day with a sore throat. ... 1B Sean Casey got a prolonged ovation before his first at-bat and waved his helmet to the crowd. Casey launched his career in Cincinnati. "That was special, it really was," Casey said. "Probably one of the best moments of my career." He later singled for his 1,500th career hit. ... The Reds are 4-0 in interleague play, 29-36 against the NL.