The buildup to Tuesday’s Boston Red Sox-Los Angeles Angels game was all about Shohei Ohtani, but it was another young star who stole the show.
Mookie Betts blasted three solo home runs and walked twice in a 10-1 win for the Red Sox at Angels Stadium. The Red Sox star began his night with a bang when he smoked a 3-2 fastball from Ohtani over the left-field fence to leadoff the game.
After the Sox knocked Ohtani out of the game after two innings with the help of a blister, Betts feasted on the Angels’ bullpen.
First, he tattooed a solo home run off Luke Bard, brother of former Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard, in the third inning to swell the Sox’s lead to 6-0. And he put a giant exclamation point on his night with an eighth-inning solo home run that also put him in the record books.
First the final blast:
And now the record.
With his third home run of the game, Betts tied Red Sox legend Ted Williams for the most three-homer games in franchise history. Betts’ third career game with three round-trippers came at 25 years and 192 days old. Williams’ first didn’t come until he was 27 years and 318 days old, with the final instance coming at age 38.
Of course, Williams took time off in the prime of his career to fight in World War II.
Betts also joined another exclusive club, joining Ralph Kiner and Boog Powell for the most three-homer games at age 25 or younger.
Here’s a look at each of Betts’ at-bats, via MLB’s Inside Edge:
The 25-year-old star on Tuesday showed why he has become one of the best players in Major League Baseball. The five-tool talent does everything at an elite level and has been scorching hot to start the season, hitting .389 with five home runs and 13 RBI in 14 games for the Red Sox.
Here are more notes from Red Sox-Angels:
— Betts wasn’t the only Red Sox hitter who was on fire Tuesday, as Boston clubbed six home runs in total in the 10-1 win.
— Ohtani lasted only two innings against the Red Sox, giving up three runs on four hits while striking out one and walking two. The right-hander left after two innings due to a blister on his hand. He probably wasn’t long for the game anyway, as he threw 66 pitches through two innings. The Red Sox had a specific plan of attack against the two-way sensation, hoping to lay off his splitter and slider and make him attack them with his fastball. Boston did that, possibly with help from the blister, as Ohtani was unable to locate his offspeed stuff, throwing a number of 55-foot splitters and leaving his sliders up in the zone.
— The Red Sox improved to 14-2 to start the year. It is the first time the Sox have started the year by winning 14 of 16 and only the second time they have done so in franchise history, accomplishing the feat during the summer of 2011.
— Betts also extended his franchise lead in leadoff home runs (12) and multi-home run games as a leadoff hitter (eight).
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images