For a brief moment, it appeared as if the Joe Kelly Fight Club would make a comeback Saturday night at Fenway Park.
The Boston Red Sox reliever, who famously sparked a brawl with the New York Yankees by drilling Tyler Austin, inflicted similar pain on Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman by hitting him with a 100-mph fastball in the sixth inning in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.
Bregman seemed to take immediate exception to the beaning, glaring at the mound in what most assumed was a staredown of Kelly.
After the game, though, Bregman offered a different narrative of the tense moment, while also denying he shot Kelly a look again after scoring a run later in the inning.
“No, I didn’t look back at him at all — I looked at (Astros shortstop Carlos) Correa because I was fired up Correa did a good job,” Bregman said, via WEEI.com. “I wasn’t mad at Kelly at all. I know I looked back at the mound, but that was just because I was shocked. 100 miles an hour hit me, and it kind of hurt.
“I knew he wasn’t trying to hit me. He is competing out there, trying to go in with a fastball and it just got away a little bit. It’s part of the game. He is not trying to hit a lead-off batter and he’s a great pitcher.”
We’re not sure if we buy what Bregman is selling, but the young third baseman still said the right things. He also was well aware Kelly wouldn’t hit him intentionally to begin the inning of a tied postseason game.
Unfortunately for Boston, Kelly’s hit-by-pitch proved costly, as Bregman plated the go-ahead run later in the inning on Correa’s RBI single. In fact, Bregman’s run proved to be the game-winner, as the Red Sox failed to score after the fifth inning in a 7-2 defeat.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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