BOSTON -- Though Boston did not get a hit until the sixth inning on Wednesday night, Rafael Devers made it a special one, sending a 3-2 offering from Jeff Samardzija over the right-field wall for his 30th home run of the season -- and with it, achieving a lengthy list
BOSTON -- Though Boston did not get a hit until the sixth inning on Wednesday night, Rafael Devers made it a special one, sending a 3-2 offering from Jeff Samardzija over the right-field wall for his 30th home run of the season -- and with it, achieving a lengthy list of milestones.
Playing without the services of Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, Devers’ stroke knocked zeros off of the scoreboard in one swing, breaking up both a no-hitter and shutout, though the Red Sox would ultimately fall to the Giants, 11-3, at Fenway Park.
• Box score
With his first home run in 12 games, Devers joins David Ortiz (2007) and Xander Bogaerts ('19) as the lone Red Sox to collect 30-plus home runs and 50-plus doubles in a season, while Devers and Bogaerts (who reached that milestone last Friday in Toronto) also became the first MLB teammates to accomplish the feat.
“I’m extremely happy, especially for him; he’s one of my closest friends,” Devers said. “To be able to do that with him feels really special to me. We have to continue to play the game together and try to break as many records as possible. It’s pretty special.”
Added Red Sox manager Alex Cora: “They’re part of the future, and we’re going to keep getting better. They’re a part of what we’re going to try and accomplish in the upcoming years. There’s a few things where they will get better; they have to work on it, and they know it. That’s the cool thing about it, with what they’ve done. It’s the first time in the history of the game, 30 homers and 50 doubles, and there’s still room for improvement. One’s 22, the other is 26, and they take pride in their craft. I do believe that they are going to keep getting better.”
• Yastrzemski's special first pitch
The 22-year-old Devers is the third Red Sox player in 2019 to hit 30-plus home runs, joining Martinez (35) and Bogaerts (31), and in the process tying Butch Hobson (1977) for most home runs by a Boston third baseman in a season.
“I was just trying to make contact on the ball as usual,” Devers said. “It wasn’t something that was really on my mind. I just made the adjustments that I needed to make because I know it’s been a while since I’ve hit one. Just watching film and seeing the adjustments I needed to make to do that. I had to just control the strike zone more, figure out my pitch selection. I was still confident at the plate, moreso what I was swinging at caused the issues.”
In the under-23 department, Devers became only the second player in MLB history to hit 30-plus home runs and 50-plus doubles, joining Alex Rodriguez, who accomplished the feat in 1996 (36 HR, 54 2B). He is also just the 11th player to tally 30-plus home runs, 100-plus RBIs and 100-plus runs in a season.
Devers leads the American League with 84 extra-base hits, the most by a Red Sox third baseman in a season and second most by a Boston player under age 23, just two shy of Ted Williams' 86 in 1939.
“It’s special to know that I’ve made history in that sense,” Devers said. “Obviously, this isn’t the season we’ve envisioned as a team, and that's something that sticks with me, opposed to personal accolades. I’m glad my other teammates are achieving milestones as well.”
Jackie Bradley Jr. also got in on the milestone act, hitting a solo home run to the Monster Seats in the ninth for his 20th long ball of the season. That gives the Red Sox six players with 20-plus home runs on the year, tying a team record (2003).
Red Sox starter Jhoulys Chacín entered the fray having not allowed a run in the 5 2/3 innings he had pitched since joining the club, but that quickly went by the wayside when he allowed a three-spot in the first, highlighted by a 307-foot chip shot off of the Pesky Pole in right field by Stephen Vogt.
With the loss, the defending World Series champions dropped to 36-41 at Fenway Park this season and could be eliminated from postseason contention as early as Thursday.