BOSTON — The Red Sox tasted adversity Sunday night in the Bronx. They quickly rinsed out their mouths and opted for something more delectable Monday afternoon at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox opened their 2015 home schedule with a 9-4 win over the Washington Nationals. The victory came less than 24 hours after Boston suffered a 14-4 loss to the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on national television.
Red Sox manager John Farrell predicted back in January that Boston would beat Washington in this year’s World Series. There’s a long way to go before then, but Monday’s contest suggests it would be an entertaining series, if nothing else.
GAME IN A WORD
Not only does it rhyme with Mookie Betts? first name — which is fitting given the performance he had — it also accurately summarizes the Nationals? defense, which was far more horrendous than the box score indicates, particularly in the third inning.
The Nats lost several balls in the sunny skies above Fenway, almost as if Washington never played a day game before. Boston proved opportunistic and cashed in on the extra outs provided by Washington?s sloppy glove work.
IT WAS OVER WHEN?
The Nationals? defense turned into a circus act.
The Red Sox already led 4-0 after two innings, as Betts completely took over the game in all facets. He swiped two bases on one play en route to scoring Boston?s first run in the first inning and then clubbed a three-run homer in the second inning.
It became clear in the third inning, however, that it simply wasn?t the Nationals? afternoon. Pitcher Jordan Zimmermann plunked Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, Washington?s outfield couldn?t catch a cold and Ian Desmond failed to handle a soft grounder from Betts.
The Sox scored four runs in the third to build an 8-0 lead the Nats couldn?t come back from.
IN THE BATTER?S BOX
— Betts stole the show.
Betts went 2-for-4 with a homer, a single, a walk, four RBIs and two stolen bases. He also robbed Bryce Harper of a home run in the first inning with an incredible display of hops.
Betts has the ability to impact the game is so many ways. He did it all Monday.
— David Ortiz, who knocked in Betts in the first inning with an RBI double, drilled a solo homer in the sixth inning.
Farrell said before the game Ortiz appears to be getting his timing down despite some early struggles, and the slugger proved his skipper right with a good effort at the plate.
— Sandoval collected two hits. He also threw his bat down in anger upon being plunked by Zimmermann in the third inning.
— Xander Bogaerts caught a few breaks in the way of poor defense but ultimately came away with two hits, an RBI and two runs scored.
— Sandy Leon went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored against his former team.
ON THE BUMP
— Rick Porcello pitched well while earning his first win in a Red Sox uniform.
Porcello allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits over eight innings. He struck out six, walked one and threw 112 pitches (75 strikes).
It wasn’t a perfect effort, as Porcello allowed two homers. But it was enough on a day when the Red Sox’s offense pounded 13 hits.
Porcello also saved a run at one point by backing up third base. Just throwing that out there.
— Junichi Tazawa finished the job with a scoreless ninth inning.
TWEET OF THE GAME
Legend. Oh yeah, and David Ortiz and Tom Brady, too.
The Red Sox and Nationals will battle again Wednesday night, with Justin Masterson set to face Stephen Strasburg in a tilt scheduled for 6:10 p.m.
It?ll be Masterson?s first appearance in a Red Sox uniform at Fenway Park since July 29, 2009.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images