Mookie Betts clubbed his 16th home run of the season on Sunday afternoon, putting the Red Sox on the board with a solo shot in the first inning. What made the home run unique wasn’t the distance it achieved (406 feet, Betts’ sixth-longest homer of the year) or the speed with which it cleared the left field wall (106.3 m.p.h., Betts’ seventh hardest-hit homer of the year) but the way in which it was recorded. It marked the outfielder’s third leadoff home run of the season and the 11th in his four-year career. No Red Sox hitter has managed more leadoff home runs in franchise history to date.
The home run gave Betts the edge over the previous team leader, Jacoby Ellsbury, who amassed 10 leadoff home runs in Boston from 2007 through 2013. It also bumped him to No. 16 on the list of American League home run leaders, though he has quite a bit of catching up to do in order to tie Aaron Judge‘s 30 blasts this season.
The only thing the homer didn’t do, in fact, was give David Price a comfortable lead. Evan Longoria tied the game on an RBI single in the bottom of the first inning, and Brad Miller‘s two-run shot in the eighth gave the Rays a two-run lead. The Red Sox currently trail the Rays 5-3 in the top of the ninth.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.