(BaseballStL) -- In a topsy-turvy Game 3, Joe Kelly pitched into the sixth inning and gave the Cardinals a chance to take a one-game lead in the World Series on Saturday.
Kelly was dominant from the start while retiring the first nine Red Sox batters on 34 pitches before Jacoby Ellsbury reached on a sharp single past second baseman Matt Carpenter to lead off the fourth inning.
“He can do that,” manager Mike Matheny said of Kelly’s early efficiency. “We like how he works ahead on the count, and gets in the zone and works the ground balls. He had good stuff. He did a nice job today.”
Ellsbury advanced to second base on a four-pitch walk to Ortiz, but Kelly battled Daniel Nava on a seven-pitch strikeout to end the threat.
The Red Sox continued the trend of putting the lead off hitter on base for the next two innings against Kelly.
Rookie sensation Xander Bogaerts tripled to start the fifth inning. Kelly walked Jarrod Saltalamacchi on an 86-mph changeup out of the zone with no outs. Two batters later with one out, Matt Carp entered as a pinch-hitter for starter Jake Peavy and chopped a slow-moving ball up the middle leaving the Cardinals’ middle infield able to only get one out, which scored Bogaerts from third to trim the lead 2-1.
Kelly ran into trouble again in the sixth inning with a leadoff walk to Shane Victorino. Kelly’s night would come to an end one batter later when Dustin Pedroia lined out to third baseman David Freese near the base line.
Victorino would score the tying run in the sixth after Randy Choate allowed a single to Ortiz in the next at-bat and Seth Maness gave up an RBI single to Daniel Nava one batter later to tie the game 2-2.
Kelly’s line read: 5.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO (89 pitches - 53 strikes)
“I think I did pretty good,” Kelly said. “It was definitely one of the best experiences of my life, and I had a great time out there having fun, just to get the chance to pitch in the World Series.”
The defining play in Kelly’s went for the final out of the first inning when he nabbed with his barehand a chopper back to the mound hit by Pedroia.
“That’s just a reaction,” Kelly said. “I mean, it’s the World Series, you want to try to make every out you can.”
Kelly gave the Cardinals gave every out he could, and also helped lead them to a 2-1 World Series lead over Boston.