In his second big league start, Kelly once again pitched well as he struck out nine and held Boston to just one run on four hits over eight innings.
The difference in the game proved to be Mitch Moreland’s seventh-inning solo homer to right field that just eluded Adam Jones' glove and got over the fence.
“Cutter to Moreland,” Kelly said. “Just didn’t get it in enough and he put a good swing on it.”
Said Moreland, “He didn’t make any mistakes [at] all, I didn’t feel like. Even the pitch to me, I got enough of it, but it was still a good pitch, a down-and-in cutter. He threw the ball well today. You have to tip your hat to a guy like that. We were able to get one out right there. It was a hard-fought game by both sides, well-pitched.”
When the ball left Moreland’s bat, Kelly thought it was gone, but Jones did a nice job of getting back to the wall quickly and timing his jump properly. It just wasn’t enough.
“I ain’t no Dyson, man,” Jones said referring to teammate Jarrod Dyson, who robbed three homers last season by reaching over the wall. “I should have had it. But I didn’t. I just missed it. It went a little bit further than my glove. I should have had it. Great swing by Moreland. It was just a little bit too far. I’m going to go out there with Dyson the next couple days and work on that, sticking my foot in the fence and trying to jump over.”
Kelly spent the past four seasons pitching in Korea before Arizona signed him in December to a two-year contract with a pair of club options. In his first start of the season on Monday, he limited San Diego to three runs over six innings and earned the win.
Sunday’s outing meant even more to Kelly, as he was pitching in front of his hometown crowd. The 30-year-old attended Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale and also pitched at Arizona State University.
“My journey to this whole point has been special,” Kelly said. “And to get here and throw [my] first game at home, get my feet wet in front of the home crowd at the home stadium, and to do it against Boston is pretty cool. I was really excited when I saw this game on the calendar. Obviously they’re the defending champs. It’s pretty special. We would have liked to have come away with a win, but I was happy with the performance today for sure.”
Short on pitching, the Red Sox went with a bullpen game, using five pitchers to hold the D-backs' offense, which had been off to an outstanding start this year, to just three hits.
“I think we might have been a little thrown off by the bullpen day,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “Offensively we’ve been swinging the bats extremely well. We do a really good job of prepping. It’s not an excuse. We got beat fair and square.”