For what was a slow start to begin his Red Sox career, Hunter Renfroe has been turning it around for the better as of late.
The latest instance of the outfielder’s offensive resurgence popped up in the Sox’ 11-7 win over the Tigers at Fenway Park on Tuesday night.
As part of a 3-for-4 evening at the plate, Renfroe ripped an RBI single in the first inning, laced a 108.5 mph ground-rule double in the third inning, and picked up the 100th home run of his big-league career in the fifth inning.
With one out in the bottom half of the fifth, the 29-year-old was matched up against Tigers reliever Buck Farmer, someone he had never faced before Tuesday.
On an 0-1, hanging 83 mph slider down the heart of the plate from Farmer, Renfroe crushed said pitch 362 feet into the second row of Green Monster seats in left field.
Renfroe’s homer gave the Red Sox a 9-3 lead, and as previously mentioned, it marked an important milestone for the Mississippi native.
“Any person that says it doesn’t is lying,” Renfroe said when asked if achieving career milestones is meaningful to him. “Anytime you can get a big milestone — 100th career home run, 200th career home run, 500th RBI — it means a lot. Those are not easily done.
“People that come in the league and stay in the league are the only guys that really get to do that,” he added. “And the guys that just come in and go out, it’s tough to get 100 home runs or 500 RBI or whatever. Any kind of milestone needs to be celebrated in baseball, and I think it’s awesome.”
The ball that Renfroe took out of the yard on Tuesday wound up back on the field. Not knowing how significant that ball was, Tigers left fielder Robbie Grossman threw it back into the stands upon retrieving it.
The fan who got the ball from Grossman could later be seen negotiating with Red Sox security, as the two sides were presumably working out a deal that would net Renfroe his 100th career home run ball in exchange for some signed memorabilia.
Renfroe was asked if he had the ball in his possession, as well as what he plans to do with it.
“I got it,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s the right one or not, but I got a ball. And they said they wrote ‘100 career homers.’ So I don’t know if it’s the right one or not, but we’ll see.”
He also told NESN’s Jahmai Webster that he plans on putting the ball on display in his office at home “for everybody to see.”
With Tuesday’s near-cycle performance in his back pocket, Renfroe has gotten his month of May off to a tremendous start. Through three games this month, the Mississippi State product is 6-for-12 (.500) with two homers, five RBI, and four runs scored.
His numbers on the season as a whole (.222/.275/.389) still might not look that impressive, but this recent turnaround is certainly an encouraging development for the Red Sox.
“He’s swinging the bat well,” Sox manager Alex Cora said Tuesday night. “It started in Texas, right? He hits the home run… he got two hits the opposite way, he put the ball in play. And today, he did the same thing. Even the out was a good swing going opposite field. So he’s in a good place right now. He looks like he’s having confidence, he’s seeing the ball better, and it seems like good things are going to happen.”
(Picture of Hunter Renfroe: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)