With the Padres set to conclude Cactus League action Sunday, Casey Kelly wanted to make sure he left a lasting impression before heading back to Triple-A Tucson.
The club's top pitching prospect achieved his goal by tossing five shutout frames in a 5-3 loss to the Rangers. Kelly scattered six hits and didn't walk a batter while striking out three.
The former Texas League All-Star's biggest key was keeping the Rangers off the basepaths. The 22-year-old right-hander did not allow more than one runner on base at a time.
He opened his outing by giving up a leadoff double to Julio Borbon in the fourth, but retired Alberto Gonzalez, Jurickson Profar and Dusty Brown in order, the latter two on strikes. In the eighth, Kelly allowed an inning-opening base hit to Engel Beltre, but picked off the outfielder at first base.
Sunday's effort capped off an impressive spring for the No. 2 Padres prospect. In 20 2/3 innings over six appearances, he allowed just four runs for a 1.74 ERA on 26 hits and two walks while striking out 18.
Kelly came to the Padres organization in the Adrian Gonzalez trade in the 2010 deal that also netted Anthony Rizzo, Reymond Fuentes and Eric Patterson from the Red Sox. In his first full season in San Diego's system, the former first-round pick went 11-6 with a 3.98 for Double-A San Antonio. Over that time, he set career highs in wins, starts (27), innings (142 1/3) and strikeouts (105).
Padres' top prospect Yonder Alonso went 1-for-2 as the starting first baseman.
Profar, the No. 1 Rangers prospect, and Beltre, the team's No. 20 prospect, both went 1-for-2 for Texas.