OAKLAND -- It wasn't exactly the kind of blast that might define one of the greatest players in the game. In fact, Mookie Betts insisted that if the baseball he hit in the ninth inning Wednesday night didn't randomly hit the third base bag he would have been thrown out at first by Oakland third baseman Matt Chapman, eliminating all heroics.
What should have been noted was how Betts got to the point of actually hitting the ball against Oakland's Fernand Rodney. The last four pitches of the eight-pitch at-bat were fairly impressive changeups, all which the righty hitter got a piece of in some form or fashion.
It was a sign that Betts was getting back on his game.
"I think when he started fouling off pitches, he’s getting close," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "He’s getting very close. Better takes. On time. Seeing the ball better. That was a tough at-bat. That 2-2 was a fastball to the backstop. He has to hang in there with off-speed stuff, off-speed stuff. He worked hard today. His swing and after that first at-bat he gave me the feedback. He’s like 'I’m getting there.' Just have to be patient. We know he’s going to start hitting.
"He has to hit the bag, if not he makes the play. That kid is amazing at third base. At least we found a way for him not to make a play."
Betts' start to the season hasn't exactly been awe-inspiring, with the reigning American League MVP sitting on one home run while managing just one multi-hit game. But Wednesday Betts started getting going a bit, following up a sixth-inning walk with a screaming line-drive out to left-center field. Then came the final at-bat.