The Reds held off a late Hurricanes onslaught to prevail 18-12 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Friday.
The Queenslanders outscored their trans-Tasman rivals two tries to nill, but it was the hosts' courageous work in defence at the death that saw them hang on for their second win of the tournament.
The big moment in the match came four minutes from time when the Hurricanes thought they had scored the winning try through skipper Conrad Smith after Quade Cooper's pass went astray over his try-line.
But the TMO found a knock-on from replacement scrum-half Chris Smylie in the lead-up and the try was disallowed to the Hurricanes' astonishment.
Wallabies duo Digby Ioane and lock Rob Simmons scored the Reds' tries, with Cooper landing a conversion and two penalties, while fly-half Beauden Barrett kicked all of the Hurricanes' points with four penalties.
Ioane dived over in the corner in the 23rd minute and Simmons scored his first Super Rugby try nine minutes after the resumption.
"Man, in some ways that is one of the strangest games I've played," All Black centre Smith said after the match.
"I don't really know what to make of it at the moment, but there were some things going on that I didn't understand. The boys tried hard and it's just frustrating."
Reds skipper James Slipper said his team had been "lucky" to win and praised his side's defence.
"We were playing in our own half and against a quality side like the Hurricanes you can't do that," he said.
"It's a credit to the squad as to how hard we worked for each other and the defence we put up was phenomenal.
"Through good defence we were lucky to come away with a good win."
Tries: Ioane, Simmons
Pens: Cooper 2
Pens: Barrett 4
Reds: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 Ed O'Donoghue, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper (c), 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19 Radike Samo, 20 Nick Frisby, 21 Mike Harris, 22 Luke Morahan.
Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Brad Shields, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Victor Vito, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Reggie Goodes, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 James Marshall, 22 Reynold Lee-Lo.
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)