The Red Sox won a game in surprising fashion Friday night. Surprising not because of the seven-run output from an offense silenced by the Yankees, but because of the Tigers producing only two runs with Joe Kelly on the mound for Boston.
I say surprising, but when it comes right down to it, this was still a pretty typical Joe Kelly start in everything but the run total. He started off looking pretty amazing. This is not hugely surprising. Joe Kelly often looks good early. This time, he struck out the side around a couple of singles in the first, and then in order in the second. Anthony Gose even started Kelly's second time through the order in similar fashion with a seventh strikeout for Boston's starter.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, gave him an early lead, and then built on it. Singles from Rusney Castillo and Xander Bogaerts set the table for the middle of the order, and while David Ortiz wasn't able to do any damage, Hanley Ramirez managed to slap a ball down the left field line for a two-run double.
While Ortiz was only able to pass the bill to Ramirez in the first, in the third he seized the opportunity. With Castillo once again reaching base with his second of three hits on the night, David Ortiz got a hanging slider and did what David Ortiz is supposed to do with hanging sliders, belting his 22nd homer of the season to right field to make it 4-0 for the Red Sox. Castillo would knock in a fifth himself in the top of the fourth after singles from Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt.
That brings us back to Joe Kelly and, indeed, to what makes even this relatively successful part so...typical. Because as the non-Gose members of the Tigers got their second look at Kelly, they had a much easier time of things. J.D. Martinez took Kelly deep after an Ian Kinsler single in the bottom of the fourth to make it 5-2, and Kelly let the first two batters of the fifth reach before Anthony Gose's hard contact just happened to make its way into Brock Holt's glove, starting a double play with Alex Avila doubled off second. Kelly came back for the sixth, but only managed one out while surrendering a walk and a double. It was a two-run effort that could have easily become a disaster because, as per usual, Kelly just can't manage multiple times through the order.
But hey, that start. Seven strikeouts in ten batters. The reliever that could be.
For Friday, though, all that matters is that the Tigers only got those two runs, with Robbie Ross Jr. pulling a nice escape in the sixth. The Red Sox had added two more in the top of the inning, with Bogaerts doubling in Hanigan and Castillo, leaving fairly easy work for a bullpen that finally managed to put together a scoreless performance, even if Justin Masterson managed to load the bases with one out in the ninth to force Koji into the game.
That wouldn't sound like such a big deal...except the final out came on a line drive off of Uehara's wrist. The X-Rays, at least, are negative, but man, even the wins aren't pretty with this bunch.