After the longest game in Red Sox franchise history, the club needed relief and Joe Kelly provided it in spades.
Kelly, the Red Sox newcomer who was acquired from the Cardinals at the non-waiver trade deadline last season, executed what the Boston Herald justifiably called “a masterpiece.”
The 25-year old, who boldly declared himself a 2015 Cy Young candidate during Spring Training, threw like a legitimate contender in the Red Sox win over the Yankees Saturday, 8-4, striking out a career-high 8 batters.
Kelly allowed just one hit and two walks over 7.0 innings pitched. So far this season, only the Athletics Scott Kazmir and Sonny Gray have had similar games. In fact, in the 2014 season there were just 27 such games in all of baseball.
Kelly became the first Boston pitcher to strikeout 8 or more Yankees in New York since Ryan Dempster (also 8 SO) on April 4, 2013. By the end of the day, Red Sox pitchers had struck out 11 Yankees for the 44th time in the history of rivalry. It marked the first time the Red Sox have struckout 11 or more Yankees in New York since 13 strikeouts on May 14, 2011.
Daniel Nava improved to 6-for-11 (.546) with 7 RBI lifetime vs Saturday’s New York starter, Adam Warren. Both Nava’s RBIs came with two outs.
Brock Holt, in his first action of 2015, built on his penchant for day game success. Last season he went 43-for-121 (.355) in day games, good for the 2nd-best such mark in the American League among players with a minimum of 100 plate appearances.
On Saturday Holt put together 4 hits in 5 at-bats collecting his 10th career multi-RBI game overall. It was Holt’s first game with 3 RBI, all coming with a bases loaded, base clearing double with two outs in the 8th inning. Prior to today’s game Holt had been 0-for-11 over his career in bases loaded situations.
The big Boston bats were quiet today with Hanley Ramirez given the day off, Pablo Sandoval going 1-for-5, and both David Ortiz and Mike Napoli held hitless. Despite a torrid Spring Training, Napoli is now 0-for-32 dating back to September 8.
The Red Sox, who improve to 4-1 for the first time since 2006, have now won back-to-back series with the final game of this one coming Sunday night. They then head to Boston for the season’s home opener against the Nationals.
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