BOSTON -- The Red Sox were so close they could taste it. Somewhere in the visiting clubhouse there were bottles of champagne waiting to be popped. And for a moment, it seemed like Mookie Betts' defensive heroics could've changed the outcome of the Red Sox's 6-4 loss to the Yankees
BOSTON -- The Red Sox were so close they could taste it. Somewhere in the visiting clubhouse there were bottles of champagne waiting to be popped. And for a moment, it seemed like Mookie Betts' defensive heroics could've changed the outcome of the Red Sox's 6-4 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday.
In the sixth inning with New York leading, 4-3, and Starlin Castro at first, Chase Headley laced one into right field. Betts looked up and searched for the ball against the bright Yankee Stadium lights. Hitting a max speed of 15.4 mph, according to Statcast™, he lunged, slid and snagged the ball.
It wasn't over yet.
With his back toward the infield because of the way he landed on the play, Betts quickly spun around and fired the ball to Hanley Ramirez at first. Because it looked like Betts had lost Headley's ball in the lights, Castro had taken a big lead off the bag.
Castro slid in head first, but Ramirez stretched on the bag to corral the throw and complete the 9-3 double play. It was Betts' 14th outfield assist of the season, ranking second in the American League while tying for third in the Major Leagues.
Though Betts made it look easy, the catch was far from it.
"It was tough. It was in the lights the whole way," Betts said. "Just had to try and make an adjustment. Once I was able to catch it, I figured [Castro] saw me looking into the lights, and I took a look and aired it out and it was able to get there in time."
This wasn't the first time Betts displayed his right-field acrobatics against the Yankees. During Boston's 5-4 series sweeping win over New York on Sept. 18, Betts made a pair of jaw-dropping plays against Mark Teixeira and Brett Gardner in the seventh and ninth innings, respectively.
On either day, Betts' game plan is the same.
"Just off the bat, you kind of have to make a guess of where it's going to be. I was able to stick with it long enough to be able to reach up and make the out last second," Betts said.
Betts isn't worried about the road ahead, despite Boston's missed opportunity to clinch the division on Tuesday.
"I don't think it's frustrating at all," said Betts. "We still have games left, and we should continue to play. I don't think we're frustrated at all. We were in the game, we had our chances. Just didn't come through today. I think we're fine."
Deesha Thosar is a reporter for MLB.com.