Joe Kelly turned in his worst start of the season Monday. (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Closing Time: Joe Kelly roughed up in Red Sox' loss to Twins

Rob Bradford
May 25, 2015 - 1:05 pm

MINNEAPOLIS -- Unfortunately for the Red Sox, it seemed like old times. After a run of solid starting pitching, and two straight wins, the Sox fell into some old habits with starter Joe Kelly lasting just 1 2/3 innings, giving up seven runs. It put John Farrell's team in a hole they couldn't dig out from, losing its series opener against the Twins, 7-2, Monday afternoon at Target Field. Kelly, whose ERA jumped to 6.24, has given up five or more runs five times in his nine starts this season. "It'€™s not ideal, but I've just got to keep pitching," the Sox starter said when asked about the inconsistencies. Kelly allowed one run in the first before giving way to Matt Barnes after surrendering six in the second. "A number of pitches found their way to the middle of the plate, and whether it was hard contact or soft contact, a high number of base hits," Farrell noted. "They put up six in the first inning, and you've got to go to the bullpen at that point in that second inning. A short day, and unfortunately we get a hole dug pretty darn deep here [Monday]." The dagger for Kelly was Trevor Plouffe's three-run homer in the second, building the hosts' lead to seven runs. "Full count. I threw a lot of pitches that inning and I really didn't want to give into him or walk him," Kelly said after turning the shortest outing of his career (in 57 starts). "I threw a strike, breaking ball that kind of backed up on me a little bit. He put a good swing on it and hit a three-run homer." After the game, Farrell wasn't about to announce Kelly would be changing roles. "There'€™s no decision here in this moment. He'€™s shown us the ability to go out and work deep in a ballgame," the manager said of Kelly, who is 0-5 with a 6.89 ERA in his career in the month of May. "There'€™s no denying the stuff. It'€™s a matter of consistent location with his fastball. When he'€™s in those games where the runs have come about, it'€™s typically been mislocated fastballs that found their way to the plate." Meanwhile, Twins starter Ricky Nolasco was able to settle down against Red Sox hitters. The righty, who came into the game with a 6.00 ERA, surrendered just two runs while not walking a batter over 7 2/3 innings. Nolasco retired 16 straight before Mookie Betts' two-out double in the eighth inning, the last batter the starter faced. The only Red Sox runs came in the third inning thanks to an RBI ground out from David Ortiz and RBI single by Hanley Ramirez. It was Ramirez's first RBI since April 29. The one positive for the Red Sox was the work of their bullpen after Kelly's exit, with Barnes (3.1 IP, 5 H), Craig Breslow, Tommy Layne and Heath Hembree not allowing any further runs. "Yeah, they came in and did their job," Farrell said of his relievers. "Matt Barnes came in with 3 1/3 innings of work. Very good stuff across the board from each and every one of them that came in from the pen." For a box score, click here.