Mookie Betts already has accomplished quite a bit in his young Major League Baseball career, but there was one offensive accomplishment that had been evading the star outfielder.
Entering Friday, Betts had blasted 72 home runs over the course of his four-year MLB career, but none of the long balls were hit the opposite way. That all changed in the first inning of the Boston Red Sox’s series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays.
With runners on first and second base, Betts flared a liner down the right-field line that looked like nothing more than a foul ball. But fortunately for Betts and the Red Sox, the ball snuck right around Pesky’s Pole for a three-run shot, Betts’ first career opposite-field home run. The round-tripper was just the start of a barrage of hits from Boston, as it cruised to a 9-3 victory over Tampa Bay.
Betts surely will take home runs any way he can get them, but his total lack of opposite-field bombs actually had crossed his mind. And in a recent conversation with Dustin Pedroia, Betts showcased some impressive foreshadowing.
“There’s a first for everything,” Betts said, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “I told Pedey a couple days ago that I wanted to get one and it finally came. Maybe I should speak some more success into the future.”
Betts had as good a chance of any to make his wish come true against Rays starter Chris Archer. Betts has tormented the right-hander over the course of his career, as he boasts a .387 batting average with two doubles, four home runs and 10 RBIs against Tampa Bay’s ace.
Now that Betts finally has crossed an opposite-field home run off his bucket list, we imagine a World Series championship probably is next on his list.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Rays.
— Boston notched its 80th victory of the season and extended its winning streak to three games.
— Drew Pomeranz tossed six strong innings in which he allowed just two runs on two hits. He’s now tied with Chris Sale for the American League lead in wins and is 9-1 in his last 10 starts.
— Rafael Devers went 3-for-3 with a double and two runs scored. The 20-year-old has hit safely in 17 of 21 games at Fenway Park, including 10 multi-hit performances.
— Andrew Benintendi snapped an 0-for-20 skid with a 2-for-5 performance at the plate.
— Chrisitan Vazquez (2-for-4) recorded a single and an RBI double, improving his home batting average to .368 this season.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images