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.
Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays and starter Marco Estrada are nearing an agreement on a contract extension. The deal is expected to be for one guaranteed year, Morosi adds.
Estrada, 34, was set to become a free agent after the season. He earned $26 million on a two-year contract signed with the Jays in November 2015. While the right-hander has a subpar 4.84 ERA on the season, he has a solid 170/67 K/BB ratio in 176 2/3 innings and has looked much better since the end of July. Between July 31 and his most recent start on Saturday, Estrada owns a 3.75 ERA.
J.A. Happ is the only other starter technically under contract with the Jays next season. Marcus Stroman will be eligible for his second year of arbitration and the Jays will certainly agree to give him a raise on his $3.4 million salary for the 2017 season. The Jays will likely be active this offseason in adding rotation help and they’re starting early by locking up Estrada.
Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. robbed Orioles first baseman Chris Davis of his 25th home run on Tuesday evening, leaping at the fence in center field to make the catch and keep the game scoreless in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Davis swung at the first pitch he saw from Drew Pomeranz, a slider that crossed the middle of the plate.
This game has potential playoff implications, as the first-place Red Sox hold a three-game lead over the Yankees in the NL East. Meanwhile, the Orioles are still in the AL Wild Card race, trailing the Twins by 5.5 games for the second Wild Card slot.