Leading man: Betts heating up at plate

Right fielder hits solo homer, grand slam in rout of Tribe

May 22nd, 2016

BOSTON -- Don't look now, but Mookie Betts is on a roll. The Red Sox's leadoff hitter, who's been in a bit of a slump, was an offensive powerhouse in a 9-1 win over the Indians on Saturday at Fenway Park.

Betts went 3-for-5 with a double, two home runs and a career-high five RBIs. He hit a solo shot in the fourth inning before belting a grand slam over the Green Monster in the seventh to give the Red Sox a commanding 9-0 lead.

Grand slams mean 40% off pizza

"I think any time Mookie comes to the plate, you have a sense that [something could happen]. He's got such lightning bat speed. Velocity, he can catch up to it," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Again, he's hitting balls hard in the first couple of innings, first couple of at-bats, so again, particularly at home here, he's a good pull hitter. He's got a chance to use that wall, and fortunately he lofted it over."

Betts has hit safely in each of his past 11 home games, batting .352 with five doubles, four home runs and 18 RBIs. He's also scored 14 runs during that stretch.

"It is the best of the best," Betts said of his grand slam. "Even though sometimes I think grand slams can kill rallies, I'll take it."

Both of Betts' home runs just cleared the Green Monster, something his teammates were laughing about in the dugout, but he didn't care.

"A home run is a home run. Like Jackie [Bradley Jr.] always says, 'The Monster giveth and the Monster taketh away,'" said Betts.

As the Red Sox began their stretch of offensive domination a few weeks ago, Betts admitted that he felt like he was bringing the offense down. While he still has the lowest average of any starter (.276), Betts can see the improvement in his approach.

"I still think I have the lowest," Betts said of his average. "I'm just trying to do something good every day, whether that's offense or defense."

Saturday's performance marked Betts' third career multihomer game and his third game this season with at least three hits.

"He gets a couple of pitches up in the strike zone. A good breaking ball for the grand slam that he hit in the front row," Farrell said. "To see our leadoff hitter have that kind of extra-base capability, an outstanding day by Mookie."