“You expect greatness from him every night.”
That’s what Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora said after Mookie Betts completed one of the most difficult tasks in Major League Baseball — hitting for the cycle.
The 25-year-old was a home run shy of the accomplishment in the top of the ninth inning and made his final at-bat count, as he blasted a home run to left field in Boston’s 8-5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
“He crushed that ball,” Cora said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “That’s cool to see. He got on base five times. He’s been amazing.”
He certainly has been amazing, to say the least. The All-Star right fielder now has 27 home runs on the season with a .347 batting average.
Betts became the 21st player in Red Sox history to hit for the cycle, and the third to do so as a leadoff hitter, with Brock Holt (2015) and Leon Culberson (1943) being the other two.
Here are some other notes from Thursday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays game:
— Betts is the first Red Sox player to hit for the cycle in a game when the team lost since Carl Yastrzemski did it in 1965.
— Chris Sale threw a 50-pitch bullpen session before Thursday’s game and is expected to make the start Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles.
The hard-throwing lefty has been on the 10-day disabled list with left shoulder inflammation, but he said his arm felt good following the throwing session.
— J.D. Martinez extended his MLB home run to lead when he hit his 35th round-tripper of the season. He now sits two ahead of Cleveland Indians’ Jose Ramirez.
— After a spectacular outing against the New York Yankees when he pitched a complete-game, one-hitter, Porcello just didn’t have it Thursday night.
“There’s something against them (Blue Jays) that we need to do a better job,” Cora said. “We got to go about it differently.”
— Porcello didn’t shy away from admitting something wasn’t right, noting he struggled off the bat.
“Was battling from the get-go, obviously. Didn’t have the command that I wanted,” Porcello said after the game. “I don’t know what it is about their lineup. They do a nice job against me.”
In his previous four starts against Toronto, including Thursday, he has a 9.15 ERA with 20 earned runs.
Thumbnail photo via Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports Images