Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) – Travis Wood pitched 6 1/3 solid frames and the red-hot Reds kept rolling, bringing out the brooms in a 9-5 pounding of Arizona.
The southpaw Wood (4-1) was solid if not spectacular, giving up one run on four hits with six strikeouts and two walks in place of Mike Leake, who was pushed to the bullpen to conserve his innings for the stretch run. One youngster replaced another, as Wood continued to excel at the big-league level, lowering his earned run average to 2.51 in the victory, Cincinnati’s season-best sixth straight win.
Ramon Hernandez belted a three-run home run and Drew Stubbs and Joey Votto each drove in a pair of runs for the victors. The Reds moved 3 1/2 games in front of idle St. Louis for first place in the National League Central.
Joe Saunders (1-3) was saddled with the loss after giving up four runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and three walks over six frames, while Chris Young hit a three-run home run for the Diamondbacks, who have dropped four straight.
Neither team mustered an offensive threat until the fourth, when the Reds put a four-spot on the scoreboard. Scott Rolen worked a one-out walk in front of Jonny Gomes’ single to center. Hernandez then leveled off on a first-pitch fastball, driving it over the wall in left for a three-run home run. Jay Bruce wasted little time, following the catcher with his 13th home run of the season to right field for a 4-0 advantage.
Mark Reynolds’ solo shot in the fifth cut the deficit to 4-1.
The Diamondbacks threatened again in the seventh thanks to Young’s leadoff double and Reynolds’ one-out walk. However, Logan Ondrusek replaced Wood, got Rusty Ryal to fly out to the rim of the warning track in center and struck out John Hester to escape the threat.
Searching for insurance in the top of the eighth, the Reds mustered a two-out rally thanks to an error on Ryal in left and a walk. Laynce Nix drove home Bruce with a pinch-hit single to left, then Brandon Phillips walked to load the bases. Stubbs knocked in a pair of runs with a single to center then Votto greeted new hurler Jordan Norberto with a two-run double past Young in center, pushing the lead to 9-1 and adding up to a five-run frame that started with the bases empty and two outs.
Arizona responded with four runs in the home half thanks to Justin Upton’s run-scoring single and Young’s three-run laser into the left-center field seats.
Wood has won four straight decisions during his time in the big leagues. He was sent down to Triple-A Louisville in early August because the Reds weren’t in need of a fifth starter…Before Arizona’s four-spot in the bottom of the eighth, the Reds had outscored the Diamondbacks, 16-0, in the last two frames of this three-game set…Cincinnati swept a road series for the fifth team this season, the most in the majors.