Kelly stymies Orioles as Red Sox win series


At this point of the season, wins aren’t really the primary focus for the Red Sox, who have turned all sights towards 2015 and the future of the franchise. However, wins are still always nice when they come along and we got a good one today as Joe Kelly and the Red Sox out-dueled the Orioles with a 3-2 win to take the series against the AL East champions.

On a beautiful day in Baltimore, the Red Sox were rolling right from the first at bat of the game. On a 1-2 count against Orioles’ starter Miguel Gonzalez, Mookie Betts lifted an inside fastball to left field for a solo home run to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. The Red Sox placed two more runners on base in the inning on singles by Yoenis Cespedes and Will Middlebrooks but were unable to cash in and hang a crooked number on the O’s.

After that first inning, however, the game turned into quite the pitcher’s duel between Kelly and Gonzalez. While the Orioles mounted a rally in the third inning, putting two runners on base against Kelly, neither team scored again until the fifth inning. With two down and nobody on base, the Red Sox had themselves a nice two-out rally, starting with a single up the middle by Jemile Weeks, who entered the game in the second inning after Xander Bogaerts exited with neck stiffness. Weeks’ single was followed with a walk to Daniel Nava and an RBI single past shortstop J.J. Hardy by Yoenis Cespedes, extending Boston’s lead to 2-0.

Kelly tossed a seven-pitch fifth inning and the Red Sox were back to action in the top of the sixth, when they once again made some noise with two outs. After Rusney Castillo and Garin Cecchini struck out to start the inning, David Ross drove a fastball to center field for a solo shot to give the Red Sox a 3-0 lead.

And from then on, the name of the game was lead preservation. In the bottom of the sixth, Kelly started the inning with a four-pitch walk, an unusual start to the inning for Kelly, who had been dominant thus far. One pitch after that walk to Alejandro De Aza, David Lough laced a double into the left-center gap, pushing across the first run of the game for the Orioles. And after moving to third on a fly out by Delmon Young, Lough scored to make it 3-2 on a Nelson Cruz groundout.

However, Kelly escaped the inning without additional damage and also set down the Orioles easily in the seventh to conclude a very strong outing for the 26 year old. Through 7 innings, the right-hander allowed 2 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks while punching out 5 batters. The bullpen corps were similarly solid across the last two innings as Tommy Layne, Burke Badenhop, and Edward Mujica pitched well enough to escape the game with a tightly-contested 3-2 win for the Red Sox.