Kelly gets defensive gem of no-hit bid
Whatever happened, this weekend’s Pirates-Tigers series was going to be big for Don Kelly. His wife Carrie is the sister of Pirates second baseman Neil Walker, and they live in Pittsburgh in the offseason. The last time they faced each other in Detroit, one of their kids wore a half-Pirates, half-Tigers t-shirt.
Even with Kelly manning center field behind Justin Verlander against a struggling Pirates lineup, he probably didn’t figure on being the guy to make the key play in a would-be no-hitter.
“You’re family, but when you’re between the lines, you’re competing,” Kelly said. “It would’ve been an interesting talk later. Even a couple years later, when I went into the stands and took one, and he slid and robbed me, and I dove and robbed him, those are bragging rights within the family, stealing hits.”
Kelly’s sixth-inning catch robbed Josh Harrison, not Walker, who was on deck. Still, with a no-hitter in the works, that goes on a team, not just an individual hitter.
Kelly didn’t know off the bat whether he would be able to get Harrison’s drive to left-center. He was position towards right-center, which accounted for the long run he had to make. He didn’t have to worry about the fences out there, since it’s one of the deepest parts of the park. What he needed was for the ball to hang up long enough for him to get under it.
“We were playing him the other way,” Kelly said. “When he hit it, I didn’t know at first how long it was going to hang up. Once saw it kind of go up more than a line drive, I knew I had a chance.”