Back in Sox lineup, Betts homers three times
Boston outfielder begins night with leadoff homer off Ohtani
ANAHEIM -- Mookie Betts returned to the leadoff spot in the Red Sox lineup on Tuesday and turned in the third three-home run game of his career, blasting a trio of solo homers in a 10-1 win over the Angels at Angel Stadium.
Betts went deep to open the game against Angels starter Shohei Ohtani, then hit another solo homer in the third inning off reliever Luke Bard. In the eighth, he took Cam Bedrosian deep. Betts now has five home runs this season.
Betts is the third player in MLB history to compile three games of three home runs before his 26th birthday. The others are Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner and Boog Powell.
"It's pretty fun," said Betts, who went 3-for-3 and drew a pair of walks. "Any time you can kind of do something like that, it's huge to help the team. I just ride the wave."
• Most three-homer games in MLB history
Hall of Famer Ted Williams, who also accomplished the feat three times, is the only other Red Sox player with a trio of three-homer games.
Three days after a foot injury caused him to get precautionary X-rays, Betts worked the count full against Othani and fouled off a pitch before sending a 97-mph four-seam fastball over the wall in left-center. It was Betts' 12th career leadoff homer, extending his franchise record.
Betts' second homer was in back-to-back fashion with Brock Holt, giving the Red Sox consecutive home runs for the first time since July 4, 2017. Jackie Bradley Jr. also homered during Boston's five-run third inning, while Rafael Devers hit a solo home run in the fourth to make it 9-1.
Betts was injured in Saturday's game against the Orioles at Fenway Park, when he slid into catcher Chance Sisco. He initially remained in that game, but he was removed before the start of the fourth inning.
Betts didn't play Sunday, and Monday's rainout gave him an extra day of rest.
"Initially, the day after I was pretty sore, but I was able to walk around and whatnot, so I knew it wasn't too bad," Betts said before the game. "Today, it feels pretty good."
It didn't hurt that the Red Sox were out of the frigid Boston weather and on the West Coast, where temperatures in Southern California were pleasant and comfortable.
"Definitely, the warmer weather [helps], but a couple of days off was good," Betts said. "It's a good thing I only missed one game and not a couple. But yeah, everything is pretty good."
Betts is batting .389 with a 1.289 OPS through 15 games.
"Yeah, he came here early, ran and felt OK," manager Alex Cora said. "They told me he was a full-go, so that's why he is in the lineup."
Entering Tuesday, Betts was batting just .175 through his first 11 career games (40 at-bats) at Angel Stadium. The downtime since Saturday might have been just what Betts needed to get past his prior struggles in Anaheim.
"I was able to look at some video, study some swings and whatnot and do what I could to implement what I was seeing into my game," Betts said. "That's what was able to work today."