Just when it seemed Mookie Betts' 2018 season couldn't get any better, the Red Sox star defied expectations again.Betts singled, tripled, doubled and then homered Thursday in the Red Sox's 8-5 loss to the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, notching the first cycle of the MLB season. And Betts did
Just when it seemed Mookie Betts' 2018 season couldn't get any better, the Red Sox star defied expectations again.
Betts singled, tripled, doubled and then homered Thursday in the Red Sox's 8-5 loss to the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, notching the first cycle of the MLB season. And Betts did it in style, homering off Toronto reliever Ken Giles in the top of the ninth to cap an incredible night north of the border.
As Betts continues to pad his case for an American League MVP Award, here are 10 facts you should know about his history-making night:
• Betts' cycle is the first of his career and the 22nd in Red Sox history. The last Red Sox player to hit for the cycle was Brock Holt, who accomplished the feat on June 16, 2015, against the Braves at Fenway Park.
• Betts joins Holt and Leon Culberson (July 3, 1943) as the only Red Sox hitters to hit for the cycle from the leadoff spot.
• The most recent player to hit a home run to complete his cycle was Rockies star Nolan Arenado, who memorably hit a walk-off blast against the Giants on Father's Day last summer. The last Red Sox hitter to do so was Dwight Evans, who also capped his cycle with a walk-off homer in the 11th inning against the Mariners on June 28, 1984.
• True to Betts' all-around brilliance this season, he also added a walk to his four hits Thursday. The last player to complete a cycle while also walking at least once was Pablo Sandoval for the Giants on Sept. 15, 2011. The last member of the Red Sox to do it? Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, way back on May 14, 1965.
• Unfortunately for Boston, Betts also became the first Red Sox to hit a cycle in a team loss since that Yaz performance in 1965.
• Betts' cycle was the fifth to take place in Toronto. The Blue Jays' Kelly Gruber hit for the cycle at Exhibition Stadium on April 16, 1989, against the Royals; the Royals' George Brett did so at Skydome on July 25, 1990, as did the Blue Jays' Jeff Frye vs. the Rangers at Skydome on Aug. 17, 2001; and the Indians' Rajai Davis at Rogers Centre on July 2, 2016.
• The Red Sox star logged the first MLB cycle of 2018, marking the latest date on the calendar for the league's first cycle of a season since Michael Cuddyer cycled for the Rockies on Aug. 17, 2014.
• Betts' four-hit game bumped his batting average up to .347, which would mark the highest average by any Red Sox over a full season since Manny Ramirez finished at .349 in 2002.
• A 4-for-4 night Thursday bumped Betts' average against AL East opponents up to a phenomenal .378 in 2018. If Betts were to finish at that clip, it would mark the highest average by any AL East hitter against division opponents (min. 150 at-bats) since fellow Red Sox Kevin Youkilis hit .379 in '09.
• Betts' three extra-base hits Thursday gave him 62 on the season, and in line for 87 if he maintains his current pace. That total would tie David Ortiz (2016) for the most by any Red Sox in a single season this decade, and Betts would join Jimmie Foxx, Ortiz (four times) and Ramirez as the only Boston players to tally at least 87 extra-base knocks. Betts' teammate J.D. Martinez, who hit his MLB-leading 35th homer Thursday, is also on pace to join this group.
Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.