Boston Red Sox starter Joe Kelly won’t have too many opportunities to hit and run the bases now that he’s in the American League. So when Kelly faced the Cincinnati Reds — a National League team — Tuesday at Great American Ball Park, the right-hander relished the moment.
Kelly made history by swiping third base shortly after singling in the third inning of the Red Sox’s 3-2 win over the Reds. He became the first Red Sox pitcher to steal a base since Bill Landis on Sept. 8, 1969, and the first Boston hurler to steal third base since Tom Brewer on July 30, 1959.
“That’s a pretty cool stat,” Kelly told reporters in Cincinnati after the game. “I figured since I was in the AL, I wasn’t going to get many more chances. I always told my team (I could steal), but the Cardinals never let me run because I pulled my hammy. I figure this might be my only opportunity, and I at least wanted to get one in there and I saw the right opportunity and just took it.”
The last major league pitcher to steal third base before Kelly was Ted Lilly on July 23, 2008. Reds starter Mat Latos, whom Kelly stole the base against, even admitted after the game that his counterpart’s theft set him off a bit.
Kelly, who was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals before the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline, was making just his second start in a Red Sox uniform. But it’s never too early to make history.