Mookie Betts had two hits out of the leadoff spot. (Getty Images)

Why you should have cared about this Red Sox game: Mookie Betts was good in leadoff spot

DJ Bean
September 01, 2014 - 12:44 pm
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(For the final month of the regular season, Closing Time will now be called "Why you should have cared," taking into consideration the team's increasing distance from a .500 record.) Mookie Betts has ascended up the Red Sox batting order in recent days, and his first tango in the leadoff spot suited him well in a 4-3, 10-inning loss to the Rays. Betts had hit eighth in nine straight games after his mid-August recall and was moved up to seventh for three straight before hitting second on Sunday. He found success in the leadoff spot Monday, going 2-for-5 with an RBI double and a run scored. The run scored was a key one, as Betts, after singling in the top of the eighth with the Sox trailing down a run, was advanced to second on a groundout by Brock Holt and scored on a Yoenis Cespedes single. Monday marked Betts' second straight game with an RBI, as he contributed a run-scoring single in Sunday's win over the Rays. Here are some other things to care about as the Sox fell to 60-77: -- Mike Napoli hit a solo shot to left-center in the bottom of the fourth to snap an 0-for-13 skid. With his 17th homer of the season, Napoli is closer to becoming the Sox'€™ second player with 20 home runs this season (David Ortiz leads the team with 30). Ortiz and Napoli were the only Sox hitters with 20 homers last season, which was the first time since 1997 that the Sox didn'€™t have at least three players hit 20 or more home runs. -- Though Napoli came through in the fourth, he struck out swinging to end the top of the eighth after Cespedes had tied the game. -- Cespedes displayed a rocket from left field as he tried to throw out Ryan Hanigan going for a double in the 10th, and though the ball got to second before the runner, Hanigan got his hand under the tag of Holt to reach second safely. -- Xander Bogaerts made a very strong play on a ball hit up the middle from James Loney in the bottom of the sixth inning. Bogaerts dove to knock the grounder down and recovered with a weak throw to beat the runner. The lack of zip on the throw didn't ultimately hurt the Sox, as Loney does not get down the line well. - Bogaerts doubled in the top of the fifth, but was thrown out attempting to steal third. He'€™s now been caught stealing three times this season while only successfully swiping two bases. - Jemile Weeks was picked off of first base in the top of the 10th after he was put in to pinch run for Christian Vazquez. -- Ruby De La Rosa allowed six hits and three earned runs while walking none and striking out four over 5 1/3 innings. The showing was a step in the right direction after he had allowed seven hits and three earned in 4 2/3 innings in his last outing against the Blue Jays. -- Edward Mujica, who had allowed two hits and an earned run in two of his previous three appearances, threw a 1-2-3 eighth inning with two strikeouts Monday. Mujica had gone four straight appearances without allowing a hit prior to the aforementioned three-game stretch, so Monday's outing is a step back in the right direction for the veteran reliever.

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