Betts hits 2 HRs to power Red Sox to 4-3 win over Blue Jays
TORONTO (AP) After six home runs in his last seven games, it seems Mookie Betts‘ isn’t impressing his teammates anymore.
”We don’t care about Mookie, we care about the Bruins,” Hanley Ramirez joked in the locker room after Betts’ latest offensive outburst helped the Boston Red Sox snap their season-high three-game losing streak with a 4-3 over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.
Betts homered twice and drove in three runs as the Red Sox improved to 6-1 in one-run games and got their 18th win of the season, tying the franchise record for victories before May 1.
While the Red Sox outfielder has reached base in each of his last 19 games against the Blue Jays, he said he feels he is starting to tap into the power side of his game.
”I think so. A lot of learning with the new hitting (coaches), and with (new teammate) J.D. (Martinez), just putting things together,” he said. ”Actually learning how to use my strength versus going off ability.”
Betts got the Red Sox on the scoreboard with leadoff homer in the first – his third such shot of the season and 14th of his career – over the left-field fence. He then put the Red Sox in front for good in the seventh, taking reliever Danny Barnes (1-1) deep over the right-field wall for his eighth homer of the season – a two-run shot that also drove in Brock Holt.
Alex Cora said it is games like this that has Betts keeping the very best of company in the major leagues.
”They’re special,” the Red Sox manager said. ”The Trouts, the Altuves, the more at-bats they get the better you feel about it,”
Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez (3-0) gave up three runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings, throwing a season-high 106 pitches.
Though Boston has now won all of Rodriguez’s four starts this season, after the recent losing skid, the left-hander was more than happy to give credit to the guy who jump-started the offense.
”We needed something like that, somebody to get us in front and do it like he did it today,” he said.
However, Yangervis Solarte wasn’t handing out much credit after the game. The third baseman’s sixth home run of the season into the second deck of left field in the sixth inning gave Toronto its only lead of the game at 3-2.
”I think he got lucky a couple of times and we didn’t take advantage of it,” he said. ”I think we made the adjustment a little bit. But I think he got lucky more than us getting beat.”
Aaron Sanchez lasted six innings for the Blue Jays, giving up just three hits and two runs, while striking out a season-high eight.
Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts might be in the Boston lineup Friday, but lost his chance for another rehab appearance with Triple-A Pawtucket’s game rained out on Wednesday and the team off Thursday. Manager Alex Cora said Bogaerts would visit the doctor before making a determination on his availability. He has been out since fracturing his ankle on April 8.
Blue Jays: 3B Josh Donaldson should be ready to begin a rehab assignment later this week, according to manager John Gibbons. The former AL MVP has been out since April 10 with right shoulder inflammation. … SS Troy Tulowitzki has been cleared to begin light baseball activities, according to a team spokesperson. Tulowitzki, currently on the 60-day DL after having bone spurs removed from both feet during spring training, will be monitored and re-evaluated after four weeks.
With steals of both second and third base in the seventh inning by Andrew Benitendi, the Red Sox have now converted 20 of their last 20 stolen-base attempts against Toronto.
The Red Sox struck out 10 times and has now done so in each of their last four games, after reaching that mark just two in their first 19 contests.
Just missing leading off the bottom of the first with a home run, Steve Pearce instead decided to make a play for second as the ball caromed off the left-field wall. But with left fielder Benitendi making a good, one-hop throw to second, only a nifty hook slide around the tag of Eduardo Nunez prevented the out.
A FOUR-GONE CONCLUSION?
Despite posting a 13-0 record when plating four or more runs, the Blue Jays dropped to 1-9 when scoring less than four.
Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (1-1, 1.86) takes the mound for the series finale looking to improve on his 4-1 record with a 0.96 ERA in seven appearances in Toronto.
Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (2-1, 5.32) is looking for his first win against the Red Sox since June 5, 2016, after going 0-1 against them in four starts last season.