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BOS@STL: Kelly limits Cards to one run in St. Louis

Joe Kelly left the National League when the Cardinals traded him to Boston at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, but so far, his foes have been familiar ones.

After debuting for Boston against St. Louis, Kelly will face the Reds on Tuesday when the Red Sox make a pit stop in Cincinnati for two games before starting an 11-game homestand Thursday. Mat Latos will get the start opposite Kelly.

These will be the final two games between the two clubs this season. Boston took both games by 4-3 scores in early May.

Kelly was solid in his Red Sox debut on Wednesday, allowing just a run on three hits over seven innings against St. Louis. He walked four and struck out two in a 2-1 victory.

"There were some emotions there," said Kelly. "After the first inning, basically after the first pitch, I realized it was just pitching again. It's like pitching in the playoffs -- you get really excited and anxious to pitch in the playoffs. Once you let go of that ball, it's just pitching again from there. It was definitely fun."

Kelly has made three appearances against the Reds during his three-year career, including one start. He's allowed two runs in 11 innings against his former division rivals.

Latos, meanwhile, has looked good in the limited number of starts he's made this year due to flexor strain. In 10 outings, with his first coming in mid-June, the 26-year-old righty has a 3.12 ERA and 0.95 WHIP.

Latos' strikeout numbers are well below his norm, as his 5.7 K/9 rate in 2014 pales in comparison to his 8.1 career mark. But the veteran has nonetheless contributed to a Cincinnati rotation that had posted the second-best batting average against (.232) and ERA (3.23) in all of baseball entering Sunday.

"A lot of what helped today was a lot of strike one's for me," Latos said after a win over the Indians on Wednesday in which he threw seven shutout innings before surrendering three in the eighth. "[I tried to] pound the zone down and keep it down, and getting strike one and going from there."

Reds: Pena sits Sunday to nurse tight hamstring
Brayan Pena wasn't in the starting lineup Sunday after exiting Friday's game with a tight left hamstring. The catcher pinch-hit Saturday to extend his hitting streak to 13 games, but he couldn't advance past first base despite hitting the ball off the right-field wall.

"Just by the looks of yesterday from his pinch-hit and getting out of the box, I'm not confident that 16 hours or whatever was going to put him in a place that I would be comfortable with him catching and maybe getting four or five at-bats and running the bases," manager Bryan Price said. "It gives us a little more time to make sure Brayan's ready after the day off [Monday]."

The 32-year-old has played a career-high 83 games this season, batting .277/.307/.403.

Red Sox: Escobar recalled after Hembree's long outing
Baseball can be a cruel game sometimes. After tossing four scoreless innings Saturday --- frames Nos. 15, 16, 17 and 18 --- in his Red Sox debut, the club optioned reliever Heath Hembree to Triple-A Pawtucket on Sunday and called up lefty Edwin Escobar.

Escobar, 22, has a 4.76 ERA and .287 average against in 22 Triple-A appearances this season. Manager John Farrell said Escobar would be used in a long relief role Sunday if needed, but Rubby De La Rosa threw seven-plus innings, allowing just a run and fanning eight.

"He has a four-pitch mix for strikes. He is coming off a solid outing in which he was able to command the strike zone," Farrell said of Escobar. "He will pitch with average velocity but has the ability to use multiple pitches."

Boston acquired both Escobar and Hembree two weeks ago in a deal that sent Jake Peavy to San Francisco. The right-handed Hembree came through the Giants' system as a closer and said he last pitched four innings as a sophomore at the College of Charleston.

"It was fun. It was a crazy game tonight," Hembree said after the Red Sox's 5-4 loss in 19 innings. "That was definitely the longest outing of my career. Just trying to catch my breath and keep going."

Hembree threw 62 pitches. He allowed two hits and two walks while fanning two.

Worth noting
• Kelly Johnson was in line to pitch next in Saturday's 19-inning marathon against the Angels. Johnson made his Red Sox debut Sunday after coming off the disabled list before the weekend. The Yankees sent the utility man to Boston in exchange for Stephen Drew at the Deadline. He went 0-for-4 Sunday playing first and batting fifth.

• Boston catcher Dan Butler made his Major League debut Sunday in Anaheim. The club signed Butler as an undrafted free agent in 2009, and the 27-year-old worked his way through the system before being called up when David Ross went on the DL last week.

Butler swung at the first pitch he saw Sunday and popped out to first. His next at-bat, he worked a walk, but on the day, finished 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Comments