BOSTON -- In the fourth inning of Friday night's 6-2 win over Atlanta, J.D. Martinez clubbed his 16th home run of the season to pull even with teammate Mookie Betts for the Major League lead.By the seventh inning, the Red Sox right fielder had enough of the tie and regained his
BOSTON -- In the fourth inning of Friday night's 6-2 win over Atlanta, J.D. Martinez clubbed his 16th home run of the season to pull even with teammate Mookie Betts for the Major League lead.
By the seventh inning, the Red Sox right fielder had enough of the tie and regained his sole place atop the leaderboards by slugging his 17th into the Green Monster seats.
"They do something crazy every time they go out there," said Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez. You don't expect something like that from Mookie. J.D. is a power hitter, but Mookie, he makes it look so easy. I ask him all the time, 'Is it that easy?' And he goes, 'It's not.'"
It was a two-run blast for Betts that traveled a projected 387 feet and had an exit velocity of 99.4 mph, per Statcast™.
The home run, his fourth in his last seven games, came off of Braves reliever Matt Wisler on a 1-1 pitch and put Boston up, 5-2.
"It's good to see," said manager Alex Cora of his team's penchant for the long ball. "I do think that although sometimes we expand the strike zone, we're staying aggressive regardless of the count. Seeing a lot of two-strike homers. That's good to see. They did damage. They're doing a good job of it. Just hope we can continue it."
With the shot, Betts also scored his Major League-best 50th run and improved his MLB-best slugging percentage (.761), OPS (1.199), extra-base hits (37) and total bases (137).
He became just the second leadoff hitter since 1974 to have 17 home runs before the end of May, last accomplished by Baltimore's Brady Anderson, who had 20 in '96.
And if all that wasn't enough, Betts added his 13th stolen base, and 10th in his last 15 games, to his impressive inflation of statistics.
Craig Forde is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston.