St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Joe Kelly hadn’t been all that good during the first three starts of his 2013 postseason. He wasn’t all that bad either, but he did what a back end starter is supposed to do – keep your team in the game.
Kelly more than kept his Cardinals in the game tonight as he pitched 5.1 innings of two run ball en route to the Cardinals dramatic Game 3 win.
The young Cardinals starter was flawless through the first four innings though gave up a leadoff triple to the speedy Xander Bogaerts in the top of the fifth. He did his best to minimize the damage, however a fielders choice eventually plated the Red Sox’s first run.
St. Louis meanwhile had staked Kelly to an early two-run lead thanks to crooked number in the first inning, though Red Sox starter Jake Peavy who gave up those early runs bent, but refused to break all evening long. That St. Louis lead that would stick until the sixth when Kelly was charged with another run, this time off a Daniel Nava RBI single.
Kelly would leave the game with a no decision, though just an inning later St. Louis would get their lead back thanks to a two-run, Matt Holliday double, pushing the Cardinals lead to 4-2.
That lead would be challenged just a half inning later though as the Boston Red Sox loaded the bases with just one out in the top of the eighth inning, prompting Cardinals manager Mike Matheny to bring in closer Trever Rosenthal for an extended save – a save he could not convert.
Daniel Nava, who faced Rosenthal first hit a soft line drive to second base which Kolten Wong trapped, getting a force out at second base but Nava beat out the back end of the play allowing a run to score, drawing the Red Sox closer at 4-3.
Following Nava was the aforementioned Bogaerts who hit a high bouncing chopper up the middle that clanked off the glove of shortstop Pete Kozma, allowing the tying run to score before Rosenthal ended the inning one batter later.
The score held even at 4-4 until the bottom of the ninth inning when Yadier Molina hit a one out single to right field. The next batter, pinch hitter Allen Craig hit a screaming double down the left field line putting runners on second and third. That allowed Jon Jay to hit a ground ball to second base where Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia fielded it and threw it home where the Red Sox tagged out Molina. Boston’s catcher then thew the ball to third base where the ball sailed by Will Middlebrooks. Craig, who recently returned from a leg injury collided with Middlebrooks on his way home and was thrown out at the plate, though, home plate umpire Dana DeMuth cited obstruction and called Craig safe, giving St. Louis a 5-4 win.
Both teams will continue the epic series on Sunday evening.