Joe Kelly came out on the winning end of his faceoff with Shelby Miller in more ways than one.
Though neither pitcher earned a decision Wednesday night in the Boston Red Sox’s 2-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals, the two best friends had a chance to step into the batter’s box against each other for the first time in their major league careers.
Kelly, who was traded from the Cardinals to the Red Sox at the trade deadline, shared earlier in the week a wager he and Miller had made: If either player gets a hit off the the other, the pitcher owes the batter $100.
Miller didn’t have much of a chance in his first at-bat — Kelly walked him on four pitches — but Kelly came through in his, legging out an infield single that originally was ruled an out before being overturned by video replay.
“He’s fast,” Miller told MLB.com of his former teammate, who showed impressive speed for a pitcher. “I’ve never seen him run one of those out like that. He wanted it bad, it seemed like.”
Kelly now boasts a .500 batting average in a Red Sox uniform, but, as it turns out, he won’t be seeing that $100.
“That was a joke,” Miller said. “That was all fun and games.”
“I think he messed up (Tuesday) saying it was 100 bucks,” Kelly added. “It was 100 doll hairs, from a doll’s head. I’ll talk to him later.”
Even without the extra cash in his pocket, the 26-year-old spoke glowingly about his return to Busch Stadium, which welcomed him back with a standing ovation before his first trip to the plate.
“That was crazy,” Kelly said. “Definitely hard to put it in words. I got a whole standing ovation before I even started stretching. The Cardinals fans and the people here are so incredibly awesome. I can’t thank them enough for that. That was awesome. My heart started beating fast. I was just trying to keep it together.”
Kelly allowed a run on three hits over seven innings in the game — the best stat line a Red Sox pitcher has put up in his debut since Hideo Nomo’s no-hitter in 2001, according to the Red Sox’s public relations department.