Red Sox Notes: Mookie Betts Heating Up; Matt Barnes Struggles In Ninth Inning

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Mookie Betts missed a few games with the flu early in the season, but the Boston Red Sox right fielder is starting to round into form.

Betts went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBI to propel the Red Sox to an 8-7 win over the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on Tuesday night.

The 24-year-old star also launched his first home run of the season in the seventh inning off Blue Jays reliever Dominic Leone. It was a solo shot that increased Boston’s lead to 7-4.

Betts has 12 hits over his last five games, including multi-hit games four times during that span. It’s no coincidence that the Red Sox are 4-1 with an average of 5.2 runs scored per game over that span, too.

Betts is the key cog in Boston’s lineup with David Ortiz retired, and his current hot streak is a welcome sign as the Red Sox aim to separate themselves from their American League East rivals. The Red Sox are tied for first place in the division at 9-5 entering Wednesday.

Here are some more notes from Tuesday’s win.

— Mitch Moreland hit his MLB-leading 10th double of the season. He went 3-for-5 with three RBI, a run scored and a strikeout. Moreland now is batting .358 after an 0-for-12 to the season.

— Pablo Sandoval went 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. His fifth-inning single drove in Moreland and extended Boston’s lead to 6-3. The third baseman has tallied at least one hit in four of the last five games with four RBI in that span.

— Brian Johnson picked up his first career major league win. The 26-year-old right-hander gave up four earned runs and seven hits, while striking out six over five innings.

— Boston’s bullpen entered Tuesday with a 1.84 ERA, which was the fourth-best mark in the majors.

The bullpen looked good for most of Tuesday’s win. Heath Hembree (two hits, one strikeout) pitched two solid innings and Fernando Abad threw a scoreless eighth.

Matt Barnes entered for the ninth inning and was hit hard and couldn’t consistently find the strike zone. After picking up two quick outs, Barnes walked Russell Martin, gave up an RBI single to Steve Pearce and then a two-run homer to pinch hitter Ezequiel Carrera as the Blue Jays trimmed the Sox’s lead to 8-7.

Devon Travis lined out to shortstop to end the game after that, but it wasn’t a good performance for Barnes. He now has a 3.12 ERA with six walks in 8 2/3 innings on the season.

— Jackie Bradley Jr. began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday night. He went 0-for-2 with a strikeout and played center field in five scheduled innings against the Charlotte Knights. JBJ suffered a right knee sprain April 8 versus the Detroit Tigers.

— Another win, another outfield dance.

Thumbnail photo via John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports Images

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