Mookie Betts

Nick Turchiaro/USA Today Sports

Red Sox win even when they lose as Mookie Betts hits for cycle in loss to Blue Jays

John Tomase
August 09, 2018 - 11:08 pm

For one night, someone finally stopped the Boston Red Sox. But that didn't mean there was any silencing Mookie Betts.

The Red Sox saw their six-game winning streak snapped with an 8-5 loss to the Blue Jays on Thursday night, but who cares? The story of the game was right fielder Mookie Betts, who continued putting his stamp on the 2018 season by hitting for the cycle for the first time in his career.

"You expecte greatness with him every night," manager Alex Cora told reporters in Toronto. "That was cool to see."

Betts singled in the first, tripled in the second, doubled in the fourth, and saved the best for last with a solo homer in the ninth. He became the first Red Sox player to hit for the cycle since teammate Brock Holt in 2015. He's the 21st player in team history to turn the trick.

"It's kind of nice on a night when we don't get the job done, we have something good happen," starter and loser Rick Porcello told reporters. "He hits for the cycle and we can definitely be excited for him and smile about that and go to Baltimore and do what we know how to do."

The outburst by Betts increased his American League-leading batting average to .347, 16 points higher than teammate J.D. Martinez, who delivered his league-leading 35th homer of the year to go along with his league-leading 99 RBIs.

Betts returned to the dugout in the ninth with a giant smile on his face after crushing a hanger from Blue Jays closer Ken Giles over the left field fence. It was his 27th home run of the year in what has looked like an MVP season since about mid-April. His teammates made sure he knew which hit remained.

"They just let me know what I needed," Betts told reporters. "It wasn't like it was one of those unwritten rules where you don't talk about it. Everybody was kind of talking about it and letting me know. It was all fun."

Betts singled through the hole at shortstop in the first and then crushed one to the center field fence in the second that Gold Glover Kevin Pillar nearly speared as he slammed into the wall. Pillar fell dazed to the turf while Betts scurried around the bases for his second triple of the series and fifth of the year. He got the double two innings later on a missile into the corner before walking in the sixth. All three hits came off Jays starter Ryan Borucki.

Betts' final chance came against Giles in the ninth and he didn't miss, blasting a solo homer with one out on a hanging curveball to turn a loss into what felt like another win. The home run came after he had fouled off a 3-1 fastball on an attempted home run swing.

"We're down four," Betts told reporters. "He's going to probably throw a fastball, so that's the time to try it. And it seems like when you try to hit home runs, it never happens. It lets me know, you need to stop trying."

One start after throwing an 86-pitch complete-game gem against the Yankees, Porcello got crushed. He surrendered seven runs on six hits in four innings, allowing a pair of homers. "It's not how I wanted to come off my last start, obviously, but you bounce back from it, it is what it is, it's over with and we'll keep moving forward," Porcello told reporters.