Joe Kelly impresses in debut, Red Sox turn back Cards, 2-1


The Red Sox pulled one out late!

Yep, it happened.

Xander Bogaerts plated Yoenis Cespedes with a ninth inning sacrifice fly for the winning run, Joe Kelly pitched seven strong innings in his Boston debut, and the Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 2-1 on a rainy Wednesday night at Busch Stadium.

Kelly recovered after a bumpy start to outduel former teammate and best friend Shelby Miller, going seven frames and allowing just one run on three hits and four walks, striking out two. Junichi Tazawa (2-3) pitched a clean eighth for the win, and Koji Uehara earned his 23rd save despite a small flurry in the ninth.

To his credit, Miller also went seven strong, allowing a single run on four hits and a walk, striking out four Red Sox batters. First baseman Mike Napoli was the only Boston player to reach base more than once in the game.

St. Louis got on the board in the bottom of the first when Matt Adams singled home Matt Carpenter, who had doubled to open the game and moved to third on a groundout.

Kelly also allowed a hit and two walks in the second, but induced a key double play and then left two men aboard with an athletic play to get Jhonny Peralta to end the inning. He pretty much cruised the rest of the way.

Bogaerts plated Daniel Nava with a ringing RBI double in the fourth. That would be the extent of the scoring until the Sox got to St. Louis closer Trevor Rosenthal in the top of the ninth.

Cespedes singled to lead off, then Napoli doubled. David Ortiz pinch hit for Nava and was walked. That set the stage for Bogaerts again, who lofted one to Jon Jay to bring in the deciding run.

Thursday night’s game is questionable due to poor weather in the St. Louis area. Should they squeeze it in, Brandon Workman (1-4, 4.08) will face a tall task in Adam Wainwright (13-6, 2.26).