This week’s three-game series between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees is far more important for the Bronx Bombers. You’d never know it based on Tuesday’s result.
Joe Kelly finally earned his first win in a Red Sox uniform, though it was the offense that stole the show. Anthony Ranaudo, who was recalled before Tuesday’s game, will toe the rubber in Wednesday’s middle game.
Let’s break down what you need to know about Tuesday’s win.
— Kelly was excellent with the exception of the fifth inning.
Kelly allowed three earned runs on five hits and four walks over 6 2/3 innings. He struck out six and threw 102 pitches (61 strikes). The Yankees struck for two runs on four hits and two walks in Kelly’s shaky fifth.
Kelly, who was removed from his Aug. 22 start for precautionary reasons after feeling a tweak in his shoulder, said he didn’t think about his shoulder once during Tuesday’s win.
— Yoenis Cespedes put the Red Sox on top in the first inning with an RBI double. Cespedes finished with three hits, an RBI and two runs scored.
Cespedes’ ninth-inning triple was rather impressive. The outfielder absolutely motored around second base to easily take an extra bag on a fly ball into the right field corner. Talk about turning on the jets.
— Daniel Nava launched a three-run homer in the third inning. It was one of two hits for Nava.
Nava’s dramatic turnaround following a dismal start to the year remains one of the most underrated storylines of the Red Sox’s disappointing season. It’s hard to predict what the future holds for Nava given Boston’s crowded outfield, but his bounce-back effort is another testament to his work ethic.
— Xander Bogaerts had the first four-hit performance of his career. One of the four hits was a solo homer to right-center field in Boston’s four-run third inning.
“I just don’t see him missing balls that he’s getting on the plate right now,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “It’s good to see him drive the ball into right-center field. And that’s the thing that’s been a little elusive for a period for time. But good at-bats for him.”
At 21 years old, Bogaerts became the youngest Red Sox player with a four-hit game since Glenn Hoffman on May 8, 1980.
— Mookie Betts returned to the No. 2 spot after leading off in Monday’s series finale against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. He collected three hits, including a solo home run in the fourth inning.
Betts’ rise up the batting order has been driven by both his performance and Dustin Pedroia’s absence. It’ll be interesting to see what the Red Sox do when Pedroia returns. It’s possible Betts will go back to hitting in the bottom half of the order, but given that the 21-year-old has all of the tools a team should be looking for in a leadoff hitter — speed, plate discipline, on-base ability, and power to boot — Boston might want to consider giving him a look at the spot that’s typically been occupied by Brock Holt since May.
— Holt, who is coming off an August in which he hit .254 with a .310 on-base percentage, went 0-for- 6. He’s 1-for-17 over his last four games.
— Bogaerts and Betts became the first pair of Red Sox rookies to homer at Yankee Stadium (old or new) since Dick Gernert and Faye Throneberry on Aug. 9, 1952.
— Will Middlebrooks had a very rough night.
The third baseman went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts and an error. All four strikeouts were looking.
— Koji Uehara surrendered a home run to Brian McCann in his first appearance since last Monday in Toronto.
— Jacoby Ellsbury went 0-for-5 against his former team.
— Brett Gardner was ejected at the conclusion of the fifth inning for arguing balls and strikes. He slammed his bat and helmet in disgust.