ARLINGTON -- The dugout was surging with anticipation when the playmaker came to the plate with two outs in the ninth and the Red Sox needing one more big swing to complete an impressive comeback in Friday night's eventual 8-7 win over the Rangers.Mookie Betts is the playmaker, according to
ARLINGTON -- The dugout was surging with anticipation when the playmaker came to the plate with two outs in the ninth and the Red Sox needing one more big swing to complete an impressive comeback in Friday night's eventual 8-7 win over the Rangers.
Mookie Betts is the playmaker, according to Jackie Bradley Jr. And who is anyone to argue?
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The Rangers brought flame-thrower Matt Bush out of the bullpen to deal with the dangerous Betts. It's just that Betts, with those lightning-quick hands, feasts on fastballs.
With the count 1-1, Betts absolutely scorched a 97-mph heater from Bush into the seats in left-center for a two-run shot to tie a game that the Red Sox once trailed, 6-0. The rocket by Betts was projected by Statcast™ to land 423 feet away and had an exit velocity of 103 mph.
"It's all got to come across the plate at some point," Betts said of facing hard throwers. "That's just kind of my mindset. Seeing velocity doesn't change anything."
It was the latest demonstration of why Betts could well be representing the Red Sox at the July 12 All-Star Game in San Diego. Betts ranked third among American League outfielders in the latest round of ballot results.
"That guy, man," Bradley said of Betts. "I called it. I hate to take a lot of credit, but I called it. In that situation, it was big. It was a big swing from a big-time player. He's a playmaker."
Why was Bradley, who is making a strong All-Star push himself, so sure of what Betts would do?
"You have the playmaker at the plate," Bradley said. "It was just something that I was feeling. If you don't believe me you can ask Rick [Porcello]. He was to my right. He'll vouch for me."
Porcello, in fact, did confirm the story.
It was quite a comeback by the Red Sox, who trailed 6-0 after three, and 7-4 entering the ninth. It marked the first time Boston pulled out a win when trailing by three with two outs in the ninth since Sept. 23, 2003.
"It's a great feeling, because you know we tied it up and we gave ourselves a chance to win the game," said Betts.
The Red Sox took the lead on a wild pitch that scored Dustin Pedroia.
With one swing of the bat, Betts created elation for his entire dugout.
"Yeah, Bush has a tremendous arm, but from what we've seen, I don't know that there's anybody that throws hard enough to get a fastball by Mookie," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Just lightning bat speed. The dugout erupted when he caught it. We had an idea it was going to get out of the ballpark, and it continued to carry. What can you say? This was just an outstanding come-from-behind win."
For Betts, it was the first time in his career he's tied the game or put the Red Sox ahead with a homer in the ninth inning or later.
The playmaker is hitting .292 with 65 runs, 17 doubles, four triples, six homers, 53 RBIs and an .853 OPS.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.