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Red Sox slugger and defending AL MVP Mookie Betts decorated an impressive resume with yet another career first on Friday, collecting three home runs in his first three at-bats against the Yankees.
Betts worked a full count against New York starter James Paxton in the first inning, battling through an eight-pitch at-bat before finding a pitch he liked. He pounced on a 96.3-m.p.h. fastball and belted it out to the Green Monster, putting the Red Sox on the board with a solo shot.
While Andrew Cashner held the Yankees scoreless, Betts won contest after contest against Paxton. In the third, he led off again with another solo home run to left field, this one the product of a six-pitch battle against the southpaw.
Betts came up to bat a third time in the fourth inning, this time with two outs and Jackie Bradley Jr. on first. He worked a 3-0 count against Paxton, then returned a 87.4-m.p.h. cutter over the top of the Green Monster for his third consecutive home run, boosting the Red Sox to a 7-0 advantage over the Yankees.
While Betts’ next at-bat ended in a double, he’ll add Friday’s feat to his four previous three-homer games. This appears to be the first in which he managed all three home runs in his first three at-bats of the game.
Entering the series, the four-time All-Star slashed .283/.395/.479 with 15 home runs, a league-leading 92 runs scored, and an .874 OPS through 484 plate appearances in 2019. Per MLB.com’s Ian Browne, Betts is just one three-homer game away from tying the all-time record held by Johnny Mize and Sammy Sosa. As things stand now, his five-game record is tied with those of fellow home run hitters Álex RodrÍguez, Mark McGwire, Dave Kingman, Carlos Delgado, and Joe Carter.