FORT MYERS, FLA. >> Joe Kelly allowed one run and five hits in seven innings, helping the Boston Red Sox beat a New York Mets' split squad 4-1 on Thursday.
Kelly kept the Mets hitless until the fifth, when he gave up three singles. He struck out six and walked one, throwing 49 of 75 pitches for strikes.
"It feels good to be efficient like that," Kelly said. "Obviously, it makes it a lot easier to go deeper in the ballgames, and today I felt like what I've been saying lately, just trying to pitch more than throw. Threw some good offspeed pitches and came back in counts when I fell behind to get outs quick. They put some good swings on some balls and hit some balls pretty hard today. With guys on base, just try to just manage and obviously try not to let them score but still be efficient."
David Ortiz singled home the go-ahead run in the sixth, his second RBI of spring training. Xander Bogaerts hit a solo homer and sacrifice fly.
Mets starter Logan Verrett allowed two hits in four scoreless innings.
"I was just hoping to work deep into the game with the pitch count they gave me, and I was happy with the results," he said.
New York pitcher Erik Goeddel made his first appearance of spring training following a lat injury. He allowed two runs in one inning, including Bogaerts' first home run in exhibition play.
"Great to finally be back out in the game. Just in terms of how it felt and location of pitches, couldn't be happier," Goeddel said. "Obviously the result could have been better."
Mets: Verrett, making his second Grapefruit League start, is a candidate for the Mets bullpen but could also go to Triple-A Las Vegas and pitch in the rotation.
"They had a lot their big dogs in the lineup today," he said. "I've faced a few of them before, last year, and I kind of wanted to get a little bit of redemption and kind of solidify my thoughts at least on how I can pitch against those guys and be successful."
Red Sox: Kelly started camp as the leading candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation but has moved up the depth chart, partly because of an injury to No. 4 starter Eduardo Rodriguez. He has pitched 20 innings, giving up three runs, 18 hits and six walks with 17 strikeouts.
"He threw the ball exceptional today," manager John Farrell said. "Even when he missed, he was missing to quality locations. He used different types of breaking ball when behind in the count. Settled into a good rhythm, carried it through the seven innings. Very efficient. A positive day for Joe."
Red Sox: Third baseman Pablo Sandoval missed the game because of lower back stiffness and is considered day to day. He was hurt Tuesday diving for a ball off the bat of Miami's Giancarlo Stanton. ... Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who injured his right knee on Feb. 27 and will not be ready for opening day, threw a bullpen session on Wednesday and is expected to throw a more aggressive session on Saturday.
Right-hander Heath Hembree and left-handers Brian Johnson and Henry Owens were optioned from Boston to Triple-A Pawtucket. Outfielder Ryan LaMarre, right-hander Roman Mendez, and first baseman Sam Travis were reassigned to minor league camp.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio attended the game.
Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard is to start Friday against St. Louis in Port St. Lucie.
Red Sox: LHP David Price is slated to pitch in Fort Myers against Pittsburgh.