PHOENIX — Another win for Cincinnati. Another hero for the Reds.
On Thursday night, it was catcher Ramon Hernandez, who with Jay Bruce hit back-to-back homers in the fourth inning to break a scoreless tie, and Cincinnati beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-5.
The victory gave the Reds a three-game sweep over the NL West cellar dwellers and was Cincinnati's sixth straight win overall, the team's longest streak of the season.
The Reds took a season-high 3½ -game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals for first place in the NL Central and won their seventh straight road game. The Cardinals played host to San Francisco on Friday night.
Hernandez, on a .360 tear with two home runs since coming off the disabled list July 22, blasted a three-run shot to left field on the first pitch he saw from Joe Saunders (7-13). Bruce followed with his second homer in as many nights. It was the seventh time the Reds hit back-to-back homers this season.
"I haven't been thinking that I was injured," Hernandez said. "I get ready the same way and try to stay patient and wait for the pitch I'm looking for. Nothing more than trying to make good contact with the ball and I'm being aggressive in the strike zone. ... I don't try for home runs."
Travis Wood, called up from Triple-A Louisville on Thursday to join the starting rotation for the time being, lasted 61⁄3 innings and allowed one run and four hits with six strikeouts. Wood (4-1) lowered his ERA to 2.51.
"Everything was feeling pretty good," Wood said. "We're playing well right now. Three here, we've got tough games in L.A. coming up, so hopefully we can carry it over and just keep moving on with it."
Hernandez's homer drove in Scott Rolen, who had walked, and Jonny Gomes, whose single put runners at first and third with one out.
The Reds added the rest of their runs in the eighth after a two-out fielding error by Diamondbacks left fielder Rusty Ryal. The Reds (70-51) put five runs on the board in the eighth, capped off with Joey Votto's two-run double.