Less than 24 hours after the New York Yankees beat the snot out of the Red Sox in the teams’ series finale at Yankee Stadium, Boston rebounded for a 9-4 win over the Washington Nationals, who many consider to be World Series favorites. It was an impressive effort for the Sox in their home opener at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox’s offense led the way with a 13-hit attack, and Rick Porcello did enough to earn his first victory in a Boston uniform.
Let’s run down some notes from the Red Sox’s first home win of 2015.
— It’s safe to say the Red Sox are buying into Mookie Mania.
Mookie Betts put together an absolutely dynamic performance in which he impacted the game in all three facets: offensively, defensively and on the bases.
Betts hit a home run, robbed Bryce Harper of a homer, stole two bases on one play, and, most importantly, infused a ton of energy into a Red Sox team that needed a boost after Sunday night’s debacle in the Bronx.
“That kid is an unbelievable athlete and he’s going to be a star,” teammate David Ortiz said of Betts.
“That’s ‘The Mookie Show,’ ” Hanley Ramirez added. “He’s a good player and everybody loves him and he brings a lot of energy to our club every day.”
Betts became the first Red Sox leadoff hitter to record at least one home run, four RBIs and two stolen bases in a game since 1920. His two-theft effort on one play — the product of great instincts — really impressed Ortiz.
“That was fun. That was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in baseball,” Ortiz said. “We were talking about it and I was explaining to him what he did because I don’t think he knows.
“I mean, I know because when I was telling him what he did (and) he was like, ‘Really?’ I was like, ‘Bro, not even in a few practices you can do that.'”
Harper, who obviously was victimized by Betts’ defense, also couldn’t help but marvel at the 22-year-old’s skills.
“He’s got ups,” Harper told reporters. “It’s pretty impressive to see him jump over the wall like that and rob a homer. Of course I wanted it to be 2-0 in the first inning like that, but sometimes great players make great plays. That’s how it is.”
— Ortiz crushed his second home run of the season. The blast moved him into a tie with Chipper Jones for 32nd place on Major League Baseball’s all-time home run list with 468.
— Xander Bogaerts extended his hit streak to six games. He’s 12-for-23 over his last five games.
— Sandy Leon wasted no time in exacting revenge against his former team.
Leon, who was traded from the Nationals to the Red Sox toward the end of spring training after Christian Vazquez went down with an elbow injury, produced a career-high three hits.
Leon also performed well behind the plate, drawing praise from starter Rick Porcello and manager John Farrell.
“Most impressive is how quiet he receives,” Farrell said. “Balls in the dirt, he smothers, he keeps them in control. And there were some pitches throughout the course of the game that weren’t easy to block, and he does a very, very good job at that.”
— New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw out the ceremonial first pitch after walking onto the Fenway field alongside Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft and Jonathan Kraft.
Brady, who later took a selfie with Ortiz, skipped his throw in the dirt to Big Papi.
“We all know my boy Tom’s arm, he’s got a good one,” Ortiz said. “But he figured out it’s not that easy.”
— The Red Sox improved to 69-46 all-time in home openers with the win. They’ve won their first home game in 18 of the last 23 seasons, including 10 of the last 11.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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