Joe Kelly gave the Red Sox another strong performance Wednesday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Closing Time: Red Sox can't get clutch hit, Joe Kelly's strong start spoiled in loss

Ryan Hannable
May 20, 2015 - 6:23 pm

Wednesday was Rangers starter Phil Klien's first major league start, and just fifth professional start, as Texas has converted the reliever into a starter, but you wouldn't know it by the way the Red Sox made him look. The home team scored just one run off him in his 5 1/3 innings, and that would be all the runs they would score in the game, as they fell to the Rangers 2-1. It wasn't that they didn't have any chances, as they had the bases loaded with one out in the sixth inning and didn't score, runners on second and third with two outs in the fourth and didn't score, runners on first and second for Hanley Ramirez in the seventh and didn't score, and a runner on second with one out in the ninth and didn't score. Simply, the team just couldn't get a clutch hit. "There were a number times where we squared a ball up and someone is either running something down in the gap, or someone standing right there," manger John Farrell said. "Mookie [Betts], five hard hit balls tonight, Hanley [Ramirez] with couple of line outs to end a couple of threats, Bogey [Xander Bogaerts] with a two-out line drive to center field -- we're getting a number of good at-bats, the ball is just not falling right now." As a team they were just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and with their two outs with the bases loaded in the sixth, they are now 0 for their last 19 with the bases loaded as a team. Bogaerts provided the Red Sox with their only offense -- a line shot that easily cleared the Monster for his second home run of the season in the fifth inning. The lack of offense spoiled a good start from Joe Kelly. The right-hander went seven innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, while walking one and striking out seven. It was the seventh straight game the Red Sox starter has gone at least six innings allowing two earned runs or less. "After the third inning he really settled in," Farrell said. "He used his curve ball a little bit more, elevated some fastballs for some strikeouts. And on a night where he wasn't completely healthy in terms of some illness he was dealing with, he threw the ball exceptionally well The Red Sox are averaging 2.39 runs per game in the month of May, and are now 19-21 after 40 games. "It's been a little bit up-and-down," Farrell said of the season. "Of late we're getting much more consistent pitching. You'd like to see, and I think we will see, an offense that is certainly going to score more runs than we have over the last eight or 10 games. I like where we are right now." SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Napoli, for the second straight game. The first baseman reached base three times, recording two hits. He's 4-for-8 the past two nights. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox' loss: WHAT WENT WRONG -- Dustin Pedroia went 0-for-5 and left the tying run on second in the seventh and ninth inning. He is now hitting just .154 with runners in scoring position this year. It also ended a 23-game on-base streak. -- Ramirez went 0-for-5 in the game, leaving the tying run on second to end the game. The left fielder came into the game 10-for-27 in his last six games. He also had a misplay in left field in the seventh inning on a ball hit off the wall by Leonys Martin when his throw back to the infield fell at his feet and Martin was able to skip over to third. -- Hitters No. 1-4 in the Red Sox lineup were a combined 2-for-17 with three walks. WHAT WENT RIGHT -- Pinch-hitting for Daniel Nava in the sixth inning, Shane Victorino went 2-for-2 and is now 8-for-19 since returning from the disabled list. -- Junichi Tazawa came on in the eighth inning with two runners on, but retired the only two hitters he faced to get out of the jam. -- Nava doubled in the second inning. It was just his second hit at home this year, as he entered the night 1-for-24.