By Ian Browne and Alec Shirkey
MLB.com |@IanMBrowne |
BOSTON -- The Red Sox aren't in a pennant race, but they are creating a lot of excitement of late. In Friday night's 7-5 victory over the Phillies, that excitement came from Joe Kelly's right arm, and from the young bats of Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts. There were also standout plays by Betts and Rusney Castillo.
"Those young guys have been playing really good baseball for a month now," said Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo. "It's been a lot of fun for us to watch. They're playing wide-open, comfortable, confident baseball that's helping us win games."
Clinging to a one-run lead entering the seventh, the Red Sox broke it open with a four-spot. Jackie Bradley Jr. started the rally with a solo homer to center. Later in the inning, David Ortiz missed homer No. 496 by a few feet, but had an RBI double to help extend the lead.
Over six innings, Kelly allowed five hits and two runs, walking three and striking out five.
Phillies lefty Adam Morgan went 6 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits and six runs.
"It's all about having a short memory," Morgan said. "Damage control. Trying not to let things get out of hand."
The top three hitters in the Red Sox's lineup -- Betts, Brock Holt and Bogaerts -- had two hits each and combined for four RBIs.
Odubel Herrera smashed a two-run homer into the Boston bullpen in right-center with two outs in the ninth to draw the Phillies a little closer. He finished with three hits and robbed Holt with a slick diving catch in the third. More >
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Kelly finishes strong: After a laborious fourth in which he gave up two runs, Kelly was up to 75 pitches entering the fifth. But the righty did a nice job regaining his command and was able to go six. Kelly ended his night by inducing Darin Ruf into a 6-4-3 double play and departed with a 3-2 lead. Kelly threw 106 pitches. It was the sixth consecutive start he has allowed two earned runs or less, a span in which he has a 1.89 ERA.
"I really say his slider, changeup and curveball have been plus-pitches," said Boston catcher Ryan Hanigan. "He's obviously got the good fastball and his command's been pretty good for the most part, but it's those other three and the way he's using them that's the difference."
Bungled bunt: As the Phillies threatened with men on first and second and no outs in the seventh, they missed out on an ideal chance to sacrifice both runners over when Freddy Galvis fouled out to third base on a bunt attempt. Herrera and Cesar Hernandez then struck out to end the inning.
"That's one of the reasons I had him bunting 0-and-2. His job is to get the bunt down," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "He's going to bunt, he's going to get it down. That's what he's got to do. And he failed to do it."
Rusney spin move cuts down runner: Castillo is looking like a natural in left field. Playing his second straight game there, Castillo cut off a single in the gap in left-center by Herrera and made a spin move as he fired to second. Herrera was tagged out by Holt.
"Today, Rusney, cuts one off in the gap and he turns around and comes up firing," said Kelly. "That was really impressive. That gets me excited out there."
Morgan fades: The game worsened for Philadelphia in the seventh when Morgan surrendered Bradley's homer, walked Betts and allowed Holt to single in consecutive at-bats. The Sox scored three more runs after he was relieved by Jeanmar Gomez, including one on an error by Ruf that saw Ortiz easily trot home from third. Morgan fell to 5-5 and watched his ERA rise to 4.42.
"We were talking about not sending him back out for that inning, but I felt it was time for him to be extended in that kind of a situation, to see how he would react," Mackanin said. "He just made a bad pitch to Bradley. He had him eating out of his hand with the breaking stuff and he chose to throw him a first-pitch fastball and gave up the home run."
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Morgan snapped his streak of 28 2/3 innings without a walk in the fifth, when he issued a free pass to Bradley on five pitches. His run was the longest by a Phillies pitcher since Cliff Lee tossed 30 straight innings without issuing a walk in 2013.
Kelly is the first Red Sox pitcher to win seven straight starts since Josh Beckett in 2007.
WHAT'S NEXT Phillies: Right-hander Alec Asher, one of six players acquired from the Rangers in the Cole Hamels deal, will make his second Major League start in the middle game of the series. Asher lost to the Padres in his debut Sunday, allowing four runs on eight hits through 5 2/3 innings. Before that, he logged a 2.08 ERA in four starts with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Red Sox: Lefty Wade Miley (10-10, 4.57 ERA) draws the start in Saturday's 4:05 p.m. ET game against the Phillies. Miley faced the Phillies three times during his time in the National League, going 1-1 with a 4.24 ERA. Miley gave up nine hits and four runs over six innings in a no-decision against the Mets on Sunday.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and listen to his podcast. Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.