Just over 12 hours after a disappointing extra innings loss at the hands of the Kansas City Royals, the Red Sox took the field early today for the third and final game of this series, as they head out for Texas later tonight.
Drew Pomeranz got the start in this one, and he did not get off to the best of starts. The lefty allowed three runs on four hits and one walk over the first two frames. It was not looking great in the beginning, but a baserunning mishap committed by the Royals Jorge Soler that led to an inning-ending double play certainly helped Pomeranz. After he got out of the second inning, responsible for all three runs the Royals had scored up to that point, the Tennessee native settled down and surrendered just four hits and allowed one walk over the next four innings he pitched. Pomeranz would end his day with three strikeouts to go along with 89 total pitches, 55 of which went for strikes. He’ll look to build on this start next week in New York.
In relief of Pomeranz and with a two run lead to preserve, Joe Kelly made his first appearance in his first game back from suspension. He struck out two while tossing a scoreless frame in the seventh. Matt Barnes got the call for the eighth, and after recording the first two outs of the inning, gave up a solo shot to Chelsor Cuthbert and hit Jon Jay with a pitch. Barnes would get out of the inning by striking out Alcides Escobar on four pitches, but the Red Sox lead had been reduced to just one run.
With the one run lead entering the ninth, that made way for Craig Kimbrel, who was coming off his first blown save of the season last night. Watching what happened last night with Kimbrel on the mound was honestly pretty shocking, quite simply because of the fact it rarely happens. How would he respond in a similar situation a day later? Well, he looked the Craig Kimbrel we know and love because he struck out all three batters he faced on 17 pitches, recording his eighth save of the season, and the 299th of his career.
Offensively, the Red Sox needed just four swings of the bat to lock up this win, and all four of those swings went for home runs. Mookie Betts made history today by becoming the first player in Red Sox history to record four three home run games in his career. He got the scoring for the Red Sox started in the fourth inning. Facing Danny Duffy for the second time to leadoff the inning, Betts ripped a 1-1 84 MPH changeup and sent it over the Monster to make it a one-run game.
Three batters later, JD Martinez tied things up on a home run swing of his own. He took Duffy deep on another 1-1 changeup and sent it to almost the exact same spot Betts did. That evened things up in this one at two runs a piece.
An inning later, Betts did it again against Duffy. This time, he took a 0-2 slider and pulled it a little more to the left. That put the Red Sox up by one.
Fast forward to the seventh, and Betts put the exclamation point on his day by blasting his third home run of the game. This one off of Duffy yet again, on a 1-2 93 MPH fastball. Here’s all three in one video for your convenience.
Today’s performance at the plate puts the 25-year-old outfielder in rarefied air. With those three home runs, Betts has now passed Ted Williams for most three home run games in team history. Keep in mind that this was his first day back in the starting lineup since this past Saturday.
According to manager Alex Cora, Betts is going to be the Red Sox leadoff hitter from here on out, so maybe more of these games can be expected. As I’m writing this, he now leads the majors in home runs with 11 and an OPS of 1.1274. He’s the MVP of this team, no doubt about it.
The other guy who hit a home run for the Red Sox today, JD Martinez, is also having a pretty nice season so far. He is eighth baseball in terms of RBIs with 24 of them on the season. He also has the 13th best OPS in the majors with it currently sitting at .985 after today’s game.
Next up for the Red Sox is another lengthy road trip when it feels like they just came back from one. Anyway, this road trip kicks off tomorrow night in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers own 12-20 record up to this point in the season and have given up the second most runs in the majors with 173 runs scored against them.
David Price gets the ball in the series opener. He’ll be facing off against veteran righty Mike Minor of the Rangers. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 PM ET.