BOSTON -- Red Sox leadoff man Mookie Betts had been plenty busy roaring around the bases on this homestand, belting a succession of hits. In his second at-bat in Friday's 7-4 loss to the Orioles, he finally gave himself the luxury of trotting around the bases.Considering the power tear Betts
BOSTON -- Red Sox leadoff man Mookie Betts had been plenty busy roaring around the bases on this homestand, belting a succession of hits. In his second at-bat in Friday's 7-4 loss to the Orioles, he finally gave himself the luxury of trotting around the bases.
Considering the power tear Betts went on earlier in the season, it felt like it had been a while since his last home run. In truth, it had been two weeks and 52 at-bats
Betts smashed his 14th home run of the season in the bottom of the third inning over the Green Monster against Orioles righty Alex Cobb to tie the game at 1.
As Betts rounded the bases, he jogged by the man he just tied for the MLB lead in homers -- Baltimore shortstop Manny Machado.
It was the first long ball for Betts since May 4 at Texas.
"Yeah, it's pretty good to hit one over the wall, more importantly to be consistent," said Betts. "That's the main thing."
It's hard to find any player in baseball who has been more consistently excellent than Betts this season. After his 3-for-5 performance on Friday, which also included two doubles, Betts is slashing .371/.443/.761.
"I feel pretty good, but I work hard every day," said Betts. "It doesn't matter how you feel today. Tomorrow, I'll come in and put some more work and get ready for the game."
Given the way the season has gone for Betts so far, it would have surprised no one if he had hit a grand slam when he stepped in against Brad Brach in the bottom of the eighth with his team trailing 6-4. This time, Betts popped to second.
"It was a good pitch to hit, and I've been feeling good throughout the day, so I just continue to try to put good swings on good pitches," Betts said. "I just missed it."
Red Sox manager Alex Cora continues to be impressed by the relentless work ethic of Betts, not to mention the results that follow.
"You see him hit mistakes," Cora said. "There's no rush. The home run, it was a fastball supposed to be in, I guess, and he stayed on it. He stayed inside the ball and hit it out of the ballpark. He's been great. He's been working hard. You guys see him in batting practice, but before that, he's in the cage, sometimes after that he's in the cage, and during games he's in the cage.
"It's actually fun to see the way he goes about it. He doesn't want to lose it. If he stays consistent with his work ethic, and what they're preaching -- [hitting coaches] Tim [Hyers] and Andy [Barkett] -- I know he's having conversations with everybody looking for certain pitches, he'll be fine."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.