NEW YORK — In one month, Joe Kelly has gone from total disappointment to the top of the rotation.

Kelly won his sixth straight outing Saturday, recovering nicely from a rocky start to outpitch Jacob deGrom and lead the Boston Red Sox over the New York Mets, 3-1.

“It’s been a big point of emphasis that no matter what team we’re facing, I have to throw off-speed. Throwing all fastballs, obviously that hasn’t worked out,” Kelly said.

Mookie Betts homered and scored twice as the last-place Red Sox won for the eighth time in 11 games. They have taken the first two this weekend at Citi Field after the NL East-leading Mets returned from an 8-1 trip.

“Our youngsters came in here and they’re growing up before our very eyes,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said.

New York has dropped five straight at home, its worst skid of the season.

“We’ve been smashing the ball and today, the last two games, we have not. Today we looked a little tired,” Manager Terry Collins said. “We’ve been dragging a little bit. We’re going to be fine. We just had a blip and we’ve got to pick it up.”

After giving up a leadoff double and throwing 30 pitches in the first, Kelly (8-6) shut down the Mets. He gave up five hits over 7 1/3 innings, matching his career high.

“He was outstanding,” teammate David Ortiz said. “He’s going to keep improving.”

Kelly, demoted to the minors in June, became the first Red Sox pitcher to go 6-0 in a month since Pedro Martinez in May 1999. The last to do it in August was Roger Clemens in 1990.

“The way he did it wasn’t how you draw it up,” Lovullo said. “He lasted longer in this game than deGrom did. If you were to tell me that was the case after the first inning, I never would have believed it.”

The only damage against Kelly came in the seventh on Juan Uribe’s RBI double. Pablo Sandoval made a diving play at third to prevent another run.

The rest of Kelly’s winning streak came with catcher Ryan Hanigan, and Kelly credited Hanigan for his turnaround. But this time it was rookie Blake Swihart catching after Hanigan was scratched an hour before the game with tightness in his right calf.

Jean Machi pitched a perfect ninth for his third save, one day after the Red Sox used all seven relievers in a 10-inning victory.

Sandoval snapped a scoreless tie in the sixth with a double after Betts’ leadoff single. Later in the inning, Brock Holt knocked in a run with a groundout. Betts homered on an 0-2 pitch by Hansel Robles in the seventh.

Ortiz, who came out of Friday night’s game with tightness in his left heel, doubled off the center-field wall as a pinch hitter in the ninth. Shaken up a bit after jogging into second and barely beating the play, he was immediately removed for a pinch runner. But he’s expected back at first base Sunday, Lovullo said.


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