CINCINNATI (AP) — Laynce Nix singled home the tiebreaking run in the sixth inning Saturday night and came around to score on a jarring dive into home, rallying the first-place Cincinnati Reds to their fifth straight win, 6-4 over the free-falling Cleveland Indians.
Nix's single off Justin Masterson (2-7) was the turning point in a ragged game on a hot, humid night.
Cleveland has lost a season-high seven in a row and 11 of 12, falling a season-low 21 games under .500. The Indians have the third-worst record in the majors at 26-47, on pace to lose 100 games only three years after they won the AL Central and came within one victory of the World Series.
The Reds' surge has moved them back into first place in the NL Central, a half-game ahead of St. Louis. They haven't been in first so late in a season since 1999, the last time they made a serious run at the playoffs.
Reds rookie starter Sam LeCure faded fast on a sticky, 88-degree evening with no breeze, failing to make it through the fourth inning. Pitchers regularly worked deep into counts, struggling to keep their hands dry so they could get a grip on their pitches.
Daniel Ray Herrera (1-3) got the final out in the sixth. Left-hander Arthur Rhodes pitched the seventh, tying a major league record with his 33rd straight scoreless appearance. Francisco Cordero gave up a two-out RBI single by Austin Kearns in the ninth before fanning Shelley Duncan for his 20th save in 25 tries.
The Reds have dominated the intrastate rivalry in the last three years, going 13-4. They've won four of five this season in the interleague series.
The game drew 37,757 fans, some of whom tried to start a "wave" during the top of the sixth inning to amuse themselves. It ended fast — much too hot to move around.
Then, Nix got them on their feet.
His single put the Reds up 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth. He eventually scored from third on Miguel Cairo's sacrifice fly, going headfirst into the plate behind catcher Carlos Santana, who had to move to get the throw.
Santana was back in the lineup a day after he jammed his left thumb and left Cincinnati's 10-3 win. Santana doubled home a run in the first inning. Anderson Hernandez doubled home two more in the fourth off LeCure, who lasted only 3 1-3 innings — the shortest of his six starts — while giving up six hits and four walks.
NOTES: The Reds lead the series 35-33. ... Cleveland is 4-13 in interleague play this season. Cincinnati is 8-6. ... Indians 2B Jayson Nix and Laynce Nix both started. They're one of eight sets of brothers currently in the majors. The Indians claimed Jayson Nix off waivers from the White Sox on Thursday. ... Masterson singled in the second inning for his first big league hit.