BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox found the right combination to start a surge -- home field and stellar pitching.
The starters "just have to give us a shot to win," Kevin Millar said. "Offensively, we're going to score runs, especially at home."
The Red Sox went 2-4 on a trip to the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs in which they totaled 27 runs. Then they returned home and won all three games against the Reds, outscoring them 23-4 and outhitting them 36-15. Boston is 20-9 at home, while Cincinnati dropped to 6-24 on the road.
"This is a tough place to play," Cincinnati infielder Joe Randa said. "You look at their offensive numbers here and how well they play at home. They've got one of the best lineups in the game."
Boston's struggling rotation also is coming around. Beginning with seven strong innings by Tim Wakefield in an 8-1 win in Chicago on Sunday and continuing with Matt Clement, David Wells and Arroyo, starters have allowed just five runs and 17 hits in 29 innings.
"Everything in baseball's contagious," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "When you're going well, guys are picking each other up."
Arroyo (5-3) was 0-3 in his previous seven starts after going 9-0 in his 17 before that. On Wednesday, he struck out eight, walked two and allowed six hits and a run in seven innings.
"It's the first time I've felt good throwing the ball" in four games, said Arroyo, who had an effective fastball and curve. "Any time you have two good pitches going into the game, it allows you to pitch free and easy."
David Ortiz's bat helps the pitchers relax.
He drove in three runs with two doubles off Aaron Harang (4-5), leading Boston to a 6-0 lead before Cincinnati's 16-inning scoreless streak ended when Ken Griffey Jr. scored in the seventh on Arroyo's wild pitch.
"Every time he comes up to the plate I feel he's going to drive in a run," Arroyo said of Ortiz, who is second in the AL with 55 RBI.
"We scored four runs in three games," Cincinnati manager Dave Miley said. "That's not necessarily a good thing."
The Reds did improve after managing just one hit in Tuesday's 7-0 loss to Wells.
On Wednesday, consecutive doubles by Renteria and Ortiz gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead in the third, but they left runners in scoring position in three of the first four innings.
They made the most of their opportunities in the four-run fifth.
The first four batters hit safely -- singles by Johnny Damon and Renteria, a two-run double by Ortiz and a single by Ramirez, who took second on the throw to the infield. After Trot Nixon walked, Millar loaded the bases with a walk.
Arroyo allowed four runners through six innings. Then Cincinnati, which scored at least 10 runs in four of its five games - all at home - before the Boston series, finally scored in the seventh. Griffey led off with a single, went to third on Wily Mo Pena's single and scored on a wild pitch on which Adam Dunn walked.
- Ramirez got his AL-leading eighth outfield assist when he threw out Pena trying to stretch his seventh-inning single into a double.
- Pena struck out in seven of his 11 at-bats in the series, including twice on Wednesday.
- The Reds were swept for the third time in their last four series on the road.
- Boston had at least 10 hits for the fourth consecutive game.
- Boston went over the one million attendance mark on Wednesday in its 29th home game, matching the club record set last year. It has drawn 1,019,409 fans this year and sold out its last 174 home games.