CINCINNATI -- Kevin Youkilis did everything in his homecoming except rub it in.
Youkilis singled, doubled and hit a tiebreaking homer in the 10th inning Saturday, rallying the Boston Red Sox to a 6-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds, the team he adored as a local prep and college star and later resented when it passed him over in the draft.
With more than 140 relatives and friends in the stands, the first baseman connected in the 10th off Mike Lincoln (0-2) to snap a 4-all tie and save the Red Sox from a stunning meltdown. He rounded the bases with his head down to loud cries of "YOUK!"
Then, he played it low-key.
"It was definitely a great home run," he said, showing little emotion afterward. "To be able to hit a major league home run in Cincinnati is something I've never done."
While Youkilis took the matter-of-fact approach, first baseman Sean Casey -- who dressed next to him in the clubhouse -- was still taking it in.
"Wasn't that great!" Casey said excitedly. "It's like I told him, 'Welcome back to the 'Nati, bro!' He loves it here in Cincinnati. That was really cool."
Coco Crisp also homered off Lincoln on the next pitch, giving the Red Sox a bigger margin on a wild afternoon of meltdowns and comebacks.
Jonathan Papelbon (3-2) came in to protect a 4-3 lead in the ninth, got the first two outs and went to a 2-2 count on Edwin Encarnacion. He then left a split-finger fastball over the plate, and Encarnacion hit the mistake for Cincinnati's third solo homer to tie it.
It was only the third time Papelbon had blown a save chance in 22 opportunities. He'd been perfect since he blew one on May 9.
"When you can beat a guy like Papelbon, you rarely see that," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
"I got a pitch to drive," Phillips said. "I just missed it. I saw the look on his face. I thought I got him, but I just missed it. It was right there."
It was a heartening comeback for the defending World Series champs, who were playing with a depleted lineup in a city that holds bad memories for their fans.
Boston hadn't visited Cincinnati since the 1975 World Series, when it lost two of three at Riverfront Stadium, went back to Fenway Park and let the Big Red Machine finish off its championship. Thirty-three years later, the Red Sox returned and finally won one.
Dramatically, no less.
Tim Wakefield had his knuckleball zeroed in at maddeningly slow speeds, and handed a 4-2 lead over to the bullpen after seven innings. Manny Delcarmen gave up a run-scoring single to Javier Valentin, but got Ken Griffey Jr. to hit into a rally-ending double play.
Wakefield gave up four hits, including solo homers by Adam Dunn and Phillips, and struck out six in seven innings. His extraordinary pitch has been especially tough to hit lately; Wakefield has allowed only seven earned runs in his last four starts.
"I felt great," the 41-year-old pitcher said. "It wasn't as hot as it was in Boston the last time."
The Red Sox built their lead with the help of a throwing error by catcher Paul Bako and a wild pitch by Edinson Volquez, whose major league-leading ERA rose slightly to 1.64. He gave up seven hits and three runs -- two earned -- in seven innings.
Youkilis singled home a run in the sixth off Volquez for a 3-1 lead, drawing loud cheers. Youkilis grew up in town and attended the University of Cincinnati. He was miffed when the Reds didn't select him in the 2001 draft, letting the Red Sox take him in the eighth round.
On Saturday, no one could overlook him.
"He handles things really well," manager Terry Francona said. "I know he was very excited there. He ought to be."
Boston was missing its two big hitters. Manny Ramirez was out of the lineup, resting his sore right hamstring -- he pinch-hit in the 10th and struck out. David Ortiz was back in Boston, recovering from a sore left wrist.
It was only the second time this season that the Red Sox had to play without the duo. The other was June 6, and that didn't go well -- an 8-0 loss to Seattle.
Also, shortstop Julio Lugo was a late scratch from the lineup because of an upset stomach. Catcher Jason Varitek was sick for the third straight day.
- Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury had two steals, giving him 31 and tying Amby McConnell's team rookie record from 1908.
- Griffey was one of the few Reds batters with experience against Wakefield, who hadn't faced Cincinnati since 1993 with Pittsburgh. Junior was 7-for-21 with one of his 600 career homers off Wakefield coming into the game. He went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts.