BOSTON -- Each time Mookie Betts turned his lightning-quick wrists on Tuesday night, the Yankees paid for it.The right fielder turned in a monster performance for the Red Sox, including a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning that capped a nine-run frame that punctuated a 14-1 win
BOSTON -- Each time Mookie Betts turned his lightning-quick wrists on Tuesday night, the Yankees paid for it.
The right fielder turned in a monster performance for the Red Sox, including a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning that capped a nine-run frame that punctuated a 14-1 win in the first rivalry matchup of 2018.
Betts reached in all five plate appearances and scored five runs, going 4-for-4. Three of the hits were for extra bases.
Grand slams mean 40% off pizza
The sizzling Red Sox have won nine in a row after losing on Opening Day, and Betts (.432/.533/.730) has had plenty to do with it.
This was exactly what Alex Cora envisioned back in November when he decided almost immediately after getting the job as Boston's manager that Betts would lead off.
While winning a World Series as bench coach for the Astros last year, Cora had a good view of how George Springer changed games from the leadoff spot.
"We've been talking about this since November," said Cora. "If you're facing us, you have to execute from pitch one, and that's what I wanted and that's why I mentioned it. That's the first thing that came to mind, you know, the plan that I had, he's going to lead off because I saw it first-hand last year [with George Springer]. I know how it works, and he accepted the challenge and he's doing an outstanding job."
Aside from telling Betts where he would be hitting, Cora also suggested to him how he should hit -- and that's to be more aggressive early in the count.
"I think it was just right after he got hired," said Betts. "I know he made his calls and called everybody, that was one of the first things he said to me. He must really pay attention to detail if it was one of the first things he said," said Betts. "He showed me numbers of my swing percentages and not necessarily scouting reports, but it's just, 'Swing more often.'"
The slam by Betts over the Green Monster in left was a rocket. According to Statcast™, it had an exit velocity of 108.7 mph and traveled a projected distance of 424 feet.
By that point, all of his teammates were caught up in watching his dazzling display of offense.
"It's great. I think he was involved in nine runs, scored five and a grand slam," said winning pitcher Chris Sale. "He just continues to be unbelievable. I think we all knew from the time he stepped into the big leagues that he was going to be pretty special player. He was on tonight."
The grand slam was the third for Betts in his career, and first since 2016. The five runs were a career high.
Betts is the first Red Sox player with at least four hits, four runs and four RBIs vs. the Yankees since RBI became an official statistic in 1920. He is the first Red Sox player to score five times against the Yankees since at least 1908.
"Just trying to do my job, get on base, score some runs," said Betts. "The guys did a great job of manufacturing."
But Betts wasn't part of the manufacturing crew in this one. He simply obliterated the Yankees.
"The good thing with him is his ability to make contact is unreal," Cora said. "It's unreal. And he can do damage when he makes contact. I bring up George a lot, because that's what he did with Houston last year, and that's what I envision with Mookie. He can do the same thing."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.