Red Sox

Mookie Betts' home run rescues Red Sox in 15th in 7-6 win over Angels

Mookie Betts' home run rescues Red Sox in 15th in 7-6 win over Angels

Mookie Betts got it started and, more than 5 hours later, he finished it.

His 15th-inning home run rescued the Red Sox from another bullpen meltdown and gave them a 7-6 victory over the Angels early Saturday morning in Anaheim to keep Boston's long-shot, wild-card bid on track.

The win - which began with a leadoff Betts' home run in the first - kept the Sox 5 1/2 out of the second AL wild-card spot with 27 games left. A daunting task indeed but a 5-1 start to their trip out West has Alex Cora's team playing with a sense of urgency they've lacked at times in the up-and-down defense of their World Series title.

"It's going to be hard to pull this off, but we have to get locked in. We have to keep going," Cora said.

Betts' 23rd homer in the wee hours was made necessary by another bullpen meltdown in the ninth inning. Recently minted closer Brandon Workman, called on in the eighth for a four-out save, was protecting a 6-4 lead when he opened the ninth with back-to-back walks, then a one-out hit by Albert Pujols got past J.D. Martinez in left for an error and the Angels had tied it.

The Red Sox' AL-leading 25th blown save was a reminder of why their scrambling to make a last-ditch effort to even reach the playoffs. Still, in addition to Betts' bailout of the pen, there were four no-hit extra innings of relief from Andrew Cashner (11-7), the trade acquisition who flopped as a starter but has found new life in the bullpen (one run allowed in 10 innings over his past six outings). 

After the marathon, Betts, who sent the first pitch he saw from Trevor Cahill over the wall in left with two outs in the 15th, was reminded he had started things off with a first-inning homer, too. 

"It felt like yesterday," he told the Boston Globe. "I guess it kind of was yesterday."

Betts and Martinez (two-run homer, RBI double) provided most of the Sox offense as they look to take advantage of the free-falling Angels, who've lost eight of 10, in the three-game weekend series and make up wild-card ground.

"It's a long game, every win is important though and we had to pull ourselves together," Betts told reporters after the game. "I was just trying to put a good swing on a pitch. Fortunately, it went over. I just did whatever I could."

 

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Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers admits he still experiences anxiety before games

Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers admits he still experiences anxiety before games

Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers doesn't always have the easiest time preparing for games. 

After a breakout season in 2019 (.311, 32 homers, 115 RBI, .916 OPS), the 23-year-old has turned into one of Boston's best at the plate, but that doesn't mean he doesn't experience anxiety. 

The Boston Herald's Jason Mastrodonato sat down with Devers for an interview before the MLB postponed its season due to the coronavirus, and Devers indicated that he still feels a rush before games begin.

“The hardest thing I still go through is every game I still get this anxiousness of the game starting," Devers said, according to Mastrodonato. "It’s this happiness of being out there and being on the field and playing and getting over that anxiety. I’m just over-emotional about the opportunity and being out there playing.

“Because it’s not like a nervous thing, it’s more of an excited thing. That first inning is a big rush. But after that first inning settles, I get an at-bat and it’s like, alright, the game kind of settles. It’s just me being overly emotional about how happy I am.”

“It’s something I’ve been working on since I’ve been here. I’ve been working with previous people in the organization that led me to some of my breathing techniques that I do now. But it’s all about controlling myself. I know it. It’s still there and I’m still working on it. But I have gotten much better at it.”

Of course, you can tell that Devers can't wait to take the field -- he lights up like a kid on Christmas -- but you'd never know truly how emotional he gets. 

In three seasons with the Red Sox, Devers has hit .282 with 211 RBI, 63 home runs and a 5.8 WAR. Based on his 2019 stats, those pregame jitters must've been a little easier to deal with last season. 

Whatever's in store for the Red Sox in 2020, and whenever the baseball season begins, we should expect some big things from Devers in his fourth season.

Why was Red Sox great Bill Buckner trending on Twitter Friday night?

Why was Red Sox great Bill Buckner trending on Twitter Friday night?

R.I.P. Bill Buckner. Ten months later.

Why was the former Red Sox first baseman, who died on May 27, 2019, trending on Twitter Friday night?

It can apparently be traced to New York Times political writer Maggie Haberman on Friday afternoon tweeting a link to Buckner's obit from ESPN.com from the day he died of complications from Lewy body dementia at 69.

Haberman has 1.2 million Twitter followers and it appears some of them thought this was new news.

Former Boston Globe columnist and current MSNBC contributor Mike Barnicle tweeted a Buckner tribute a few hours after Haberman's tweet. 

R.I.P Bill Bucker tweets followed well into Friday night, along with plenty informing the tweeter that Buckner had passed away months earlier. 

Haberman appeared to acknowledge her odd timing in a follow-up tweet.

No matter. As Barnicle points out, Buckner ought not to be remembered for the error that was the first line in his obit, but as a terrific hitter (2,715 hits, .289 career batting average, National League-leading .324 in 1980) in a 22-year major league career with five teams (Dodgers, Cubs, two stints with the Red Sox, Angels and Royals). 

And really, anytime is a good time to look back at that.