For the second game in a row, Yoenis Cespedes homered and provided the eventual game winner, proving that the hype surrounding his move to Boston was legit. He didn’t just hit a big home run on Tuesday night however, he absolutely tore the cover off the ball with a blast to straight-away center that everyone knew was out of the park the minute it left his bat. The wall in center field at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati reads “404 feet,” and it was well beyond that point. It also came right after a high, inside pitch from Jonathan Broxton that pushed Cespedes off the plate. Apparently, he wasn’t intimidated.
Joe Kelly got the start for Boston and had similar results to his first start in St. Louis. Granted, he has started both games in National League ballparks in which he obviously feels more comfortable, but Kelly has looked very solid in his first two starts since being traded with Allen Craig for John Lackey. Kelly’s first inning was a brutal one in which he walked the first two batters, gave up a stolen base, and then let up two singles in a row to allow two runs to get on the board for the Reds. After those first four batters, Kelly settled down and went to work. He ended the first with a double play and a big strike out and never looked back. Those would be the only runs that Cincinnati would score all night. Kelly’s final line: 6IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB and 4 K – not bad at all considering that first inning.
The Red Sox lineup didn’t get too much going early on as Mat Latos seemed to have their number. They stranded four runners after three innings. Latos worked methodically and although he only had five strikeouts, he seemed to get them in key moments. He seemed to be in the groove through the first six innings only allowing three hits, but it was the seventh inning that the Red Sox finally got something going. Daniel Nava led off the inning with a well-hit double to deep center field. Xander Bogaerts followed that with an RBI single. Bogaerts was the only Sox player with two hits on the night (his average is still an amazingly low .233).
That seventh inning would be crucial as the Sox drove Latos from the game, and that led to Cespedes’ towering shot off Broxton. Koji Uehara would come into the game in the ninth to get his 26th save of the season, although he did allow one hit and took a little bit longer than usual to get results.
The Red Sox will wrap up the odd two-game series with Cincinnati at the Great American Ball Park Wednesday to finish off this road trip. They’ll send 24 year old Anthony Ranaudo (1-0, 3.00), who was just called up again today, to the mound to take on righty Mike Leake (9-10, 3.42). It’s a day game – in fact the 12:35 pm first pitch is the earliest game on the busy MLB schedule.
*Kelly stole third base in the third inning becoming the first Red Sox pitcher to do so since 1959.
*Burke Badenhop, Tommy Layne, Edward Mujica and Uehara combined for three scoreless innings with Koji allowing the only hit and Mujica allowing the only walk in relief. Layne would officially get the win and looked very good retiring all three batters he faced.
*Jackie Bradley, Jr. was given the night off as Brock Holt got the start in CF. Bradley came in late as a defensive replacement for Nava. Mike Napoli also started the night off on the bench with David Ortiz playing first base. Napoli would eventually pinch hit for Kelly in the seventh inning and strike out.