Kelly has mixed results in return to rotation

Right-hander allows three homers over 5 1/3 innings in loss

Kelly has mixed results in return to rotation

HOUSTON -- When Joe Kelly arrived to the clubhouse a few hours before Wednesday's game, he had a smile on his face while exchanging pleasantries with teammates he hadn't seen in a few weeks. The righty was back in the Major Leagues after a humbling trip down to Triple-A, and excited for another chance.

The result -- a 4-2 loss to the Astros -- wasn't quite what Kelly or the Red Sox had hoped for. But Kelly at least kept his team in the game, giving up six hits and four runs over 5 1/3 innings while walking one and striking out six.

Kelly will likely get another chance in the rotation during the homestand next week.

"He stays as of right now," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "There's no plan to send him out."

The Astros sent a few of Kelly's pitches over the wall, clubbing three homers against him to account for all four of the runs.

Preston Tucker smashed two of them, and Evan Gattis hit the other.

"Tucker put some good swings on fastballs that were mislocated and ultimately made me pay for leaving the ball in the middle," said Kelly.

Kelly was optioned to Pawtucket on June 25, giving him nearly a month to fine-tune some things.

"Just consistency with all my offspeed stuff, which was good today," Kelly said. "For the most part, I threw them for strikes, just worked both sides of the plate."

In 15 starts, Kelly is 2-6 with a 5.74 ERA.

"I thought he made some big pitches with his fastball," said Farrell. "He gets a couple of called strikes looking. I thought he changed eye level with some fastballs. But a couple pitches out over the plate. And in an unforgiving ballpark such as this, you pay for it."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.