ONE LAST RUN FOR A
RED SOX LEGEND -
FROM SEASON CHAMPS TO PLAYOFF CHUMPS
powers the Sox offense
behind the great pitching of Joe Kelly
21, 2016 ... All the signs of a
big inning were showing themselves when Hanley Ramirez legged out a
single, Travis Shaw laced a double to left, Jackie Bradley Jr. took
an intentional walk from a reliever that wanted no part of him, and
Blake Swihart worked a six-pitch walk with the bases loaded.
Mookie Betts didn’t want to think too big when he stepped to the
plate with the bases loaded in the seventh inning. Just have a good at-bat, he
told himself. Extend the rally, he told himself. Get a good pitch, he told
And when Indians reliever Joba Chamberlain left a thigh-high
slider dangling over the plate, Betts launched it into the Monster seats for a
grand slam that blew the doors open in the Sox’ 9-1 win at Fenway Park. It was
an exclamation point on a career day for Betts, who went 3 for 5 with two homers
and a career-high five RBIs. But it was just another offensive avalanche for an
offense that’s been furiously cranking out runs.
After spending a month on the disabled list with a right shoulder
impingement, Joe Kelly returned to the rotation and took a no-hitter into the
seventh inning, overwhelming the Indians with a fastball that lit up the radar
gun at 97 miles per hour.
Betts’s first homer (a solo shot in the fourth inning) barely
sneaked over the Monster. When he got back in the dugout, his teammates had a
few laughs about it. Still, it was the third multi-homer game of his career.
He’s hit safely in each of his last 11 home games. A double in the third made
him the third Sox player this season to pick up three extra-base hits in a
single game. Not even two weeks ago, Betts was half-joking about being
surrounded by .300 hitters and how his average (.276BA) was bringing the team’s
Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to 26 games when
he shot a sharp ground ball up the middle in the sixth inning and sprinted down
the line to spoil a diving play by Jason Kipnis and beat out a single. Xander
Bogaerts, who came in with the second-longest hitting streak in the majors
behind Bradley’s, extended his streak to 15 with an RBI single in the third.
David Ortiz’s ground-rule double in the second gave him 601 for his career,
tying him with Barry Bonds for 14th on the all-time list.
The Sox have homered in each of their last 21 games, they’ve
scored 251 runs, the most in the majors, they’ve put up double-digit hits in 27
of their 43 games, and when he stepped back to take in the magnitude of it all,
manager John Farrell couldn’t help but see a team that wasn’t just on a tear,
but one that has the potential to be special.