Red Sox Recap: Joe Kelly and relentless Sox down NY, 8-4
After last night’s marathon ended past two a.m., the Red Sox and Yankees were right back at it less than ten hours later in the Bronx. Joe Kelly came off the disabled list for his first start of the year for the Red Sox and Adam Warren took the ball for the Yankees. Both teams needed length from their starters as their bullpens were depleted by last night’s 19 innings in which all relievers were used. This was a complete win for the Red Sox, bolstered by an offensive attack that produced eight runs, and dominant starting pitching by fireballing Joe Kelly.
Daniel Nava knocked in multiple runs for the second straight day. Taking advantage of new first baseman Alex Rodriguez‘ dropped throw in the second inning, Nava doubled off Yankee left fielder Brett Gardner‘s glove to give the Red Sox a 1-0 advantage. Wildness by Kelly, led to the Yankees first run. Two walks and a single by Rodriguez set the stage for a sacrifice fly by Didi Gregorius, which tied the game at one. Then Kelly retired the next seventeen batters with an array of breaking pitches and a fastball that reached 98 mph. Kelly pitched seven spectacular innings, allowing one run on one hit, walking two and striking out a career high eight batters.
Nava’s second RBI of the day, gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning. Nava’s walk later started the rally that broke the game open in the seventh inning. Xander Bogaerts forced Nava with a slow grounder. Bogaerts stole his second base of the season, advanced to third on the errant throw, then scored when he beat the throw home after Ryan Hanigan‘s slow roller to third. Brock Holt’s single set up a booming two run double by Dustin Pedroia to make the score 5-1.
An unlikely rally in the eighth inning increased the lead. A grounder to Chase Headley at third appeared to end the inning but replay showed brand new first baseman Alex Rodriguez couldn’t keep his foot on the base, allowing Nava to reach first base. A Bogaerts infield hit off the pitcher and Hanigan walk set up Holt who lofted a ball to right field. This should have been the third out again, but right fielder Garrett Jones couldn’t squeeze the ball which fell in, scoring all three runs. The 8-1 game became 8-4 on a three run homer by Chris Young off Alexi Ogando who did not look sharp, pitching on back to back days. Robbie Ross, Jr. was able to retire the Yankees in the ninth for the 8-4 victory.
- Allen Craig (RF) and Holt(CF) started their first games of the year. Though Craig went hitless, he saw 25 pitches in five plate appearances and drew a key walk to spur the second rally of the day. Craig also made a beautiful sliding catch in the right field corner. Holt only had four hits and three RBI. Holt was the only Red Sox position player not to play in the 19 inning marathon last night.
- Pedroia bounced into two double plays in the game before his key two-run double late.
- Napoli is zero for 17 on the young season, with five strikeouts. Considering the right handed Masahiro Tanaka is pitching tomorrow night, perhaps the lefty hitting Holt will sub in for Napoli at first base to give him a breather.
Kelly gave the bullpen just what they needed over his dominant seven innings. Considering, he was a question mark three days ago, the fact the Sox could save Steven Wright for the end of the game last night and send Kelly out for today was huge for the team and was instrumental in securing both of the wins in this series against the Yankees.
After the lead was cut in half and Anthony Varvaro had to close out the eighth, Ross closed the door in the ninth, allowing just one hit. If today showed anything, it might be that Ogando should be avoided on back to back days if possible.
This was a tough choice, considering Nava had two hits, a walk, and two RBI. Holt gets the nod because he had all of one at-bat coming into the game. Sitting the bench last night was beneficial for him, as he had four hits (though one was a gift from the official scorer) and three RBI (also part of that gift), he reminded the Red Sox why they kept him on this remarkably deep team.
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