Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports

Yankees 3, Red Sox 2: Joe Kelly loses Round 2

Ryan Hannable
May 08, 2018 - 10:40 pm

NEW YORK -- It was exactly what Joe Kelly wanted.

After brawling with Tyler Austin and the Yankees at Fenway Park in the last series between the two teams, Kelly has turned into one of the most hated men in all of New York. He heard it loud and clear Tuesday night when he entered the game with the score knotted at two and the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Kelly could have silenced over 45,000 of them by getting out of the jam, but he couldn't get the job done.

The right-hander allowed a RBI single to left field off the bat of Aaron Judge to score Neil Walker, which proved to be the game-winning run in the Yankees' 3-2 win in front of a lively crowd at Yankee Stadium.

“He was OK. He was OK," manager Alex Cora said after the game. "Actually, I thought it was going to be worse. But it was a good baseball game. Like I’ve been telling you guys, this place is alive. I lived it last year during the playoffs. They’re showing up early, and they’re loud. It was a good environment. It was a good baseball game, you know? They made some plays. They put good at-bats. We did the same thing. And, they just were one run better than us.”

(Click here for a full game recap.)

The two teams are now tied for first place in the AL East, which is shaping up to be one of the most competitive and intense AL East's in years.

Kelly's appearance in the seventh came after Health Hembree allowed a one out double, a walk, a balk to set up second and third and then another walk.

Besides Kelly, the Red Sox got a gutsy performance from starter Drew Pomeranz. 

The left-hander battled through a cracked fingernail on the index finger of his left hand to go six full innings, allowing two runs on four hits, while walking two and striking out six. This was especially impressive after throwing 48 pitches in the first two innings. (The second inning was when the trainer came to the mound to check on his finger.)

"My fingernail, the way I throw the curveball I kind of use the top part of my finger and my fingernail split down the middle and it was like a little sliver that was pulling on the skin so when I threw my curveball it kept bleeding," Pomeranz explained. "I had to cut it off but I couldn’t pull all of it off because it was still pulling on the skin. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to throw my curveball. I didn’t throw it for a few pitches and then I finally started throwing it again because I have to throw my curveball. I cannot not throw it in this game, so I just dealt with it."

In what was his fourth start of the year, it was no doubt his best one.

His two miscues were to Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton.

The Yankees designated hitter entered the game hitting just .227 with seven homers, but his two home runs — one in the second and one in the fourth — were all the offense the Yankees needed until Judge's single in the seventh. Stanton has nine homers on the year, which makes it even more impressive that Tuesday was his third multi-homer game of the year. It’s also worth pointing out six of the nine home runs have come off lefties, and the Red Sox rotation is predominantly left-handed (Chris Sale, David Price, Pomeranz, and Eduardo Rodriguez).

This wasn't a typical May atmosphere, as it felt more like October with the crowd being into it from the get-go and rising to its feet in big situations, none bigger than when Kelly entered the game in the seventh.

So, while Round 2 may have gone to the Yankees, there will likely be many more rounds as the year goes on and the two teams continue to be at the top of not only the AL East, but all of baseball.

With his RBI single in the fifth inning, it was Andrew Benintendi's 10th RBI against Yankees starter Luis Severino. No other player has more than five RBIs against him.