Red Sox Notes: Mookie Betts’ Wheels Help Spark Boston’s Huge Finish

Stephen Drew, Mookie Betts, Dustin PedroiaThe Boston Red Sox clearly aren’t content just rolling over and dying.

The Red Sox, who snapped an eight-game losing streak Monday against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, earned their second straight extra-inning win Tuesday. The Sox scored seven runs in the 11th inning en route to an 11-7 victory over the Jays.

The win pushed Boston’s record to 58-74. Obviously, it’s an ugly mark, but the Sox showed a willingness Tuesday to scratch and claw despite being out of playoff contention. The Red Sox could become spoilers down the stretch.

Let’s go over Tuesday’s win.

– Rubby De La Rosa provided a subpar effort.

De La Rosa allowed three earned runs on seven hits and two walks over 4 2/3 innings. The right-hander didn’t record a single strikeout for the first time in 24 career major league starts.

“Wasn’t efficient. Didn’t have a real feel for his secondary pitches as he’s had in a number of starts,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Against a very good fastball-hitting team, when you get backed into a corner with one pitch, you’re going to have a pretty high pitch count (and) a number of foul balls.”

De La Rosa threw 99 pitches (61 strikes).

– Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run homer in the first inning. He has a home run in each of the first two games of the series.

Pedroia also delivered a go-ahead, two-run single in the 11th inning, giving him four RBIs for the contest.

– Yoenis Cespedes continues to leave his fingerprints all over each game. He went 3-for-6 with an RBI single in the seventh inning, giving him a .455 average (10-for-22) over the course of a five-game hit streak.

– Alex Wilson surrendered a home run to Jose Bautista in the seventh inning shortly after Cespedes gave Boston a 4-3 lead. The run ended a stretch of nine consecutive scoreless innings for Wilson.

– Mookie Betts provided a spark in the fateful 11th inning.

Betts led off with a single into right field. He then tossed on the jets to beat out Casey Janssen’s throw to second base on Christian Vazquez’s bunt back to the mound. Betts initially was called out at second, but replays showed the rookie beat the throw. The Red Sox successfully challenged the play.

“Mookie gets a good read, a good jump,” Farrell said. “Obviously, his speed carries him the rest of the way. In the time that he’s come back in this most recent recall, he’s doing some things inside games he might not have done the first couple of times up here, and that’s a good sign of maturity and growth.”

Betts’ defense remains a work in progress — he probably should have caught Adam Lind’s two-out double in the bottom of the ninth — but the 21-year-old is capable of some dynamic things offensively.

– Mike Napoli crushed a three-run homer into the fifth deck. It was a majestic blast that traveled an estimated 452 feet.

“I think that’s the third one I’ve seen go in the fifth deck,” said Farrell, who spent two years as Toronto’s manager (2011-12). “On an 0-2 count, I haven’t seen one go up there on an 0-2 count. So it might be at the top of the list.”

– Allen Craig smacked his first home run in a Red Sox uniform. It was an opposite-field shot.

– The 11th inning was so problematic for the Blue Jays that they called upon infielder Steve Tolleson to record the final two outs. Tolleson struck out Will Middlebrooks and retired Betts on a fly ball to deep left field.

– Heath Hembree struggled in his third appearance with the Red Sox, allowing three runs on three hits in the bottom of the 11th before finally finishing off the ballgame.

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