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Mitch's Sports Report: Mookie Betts Is Bugs Bunny

The big news in Red Sox Nation today was supposed to be how did Eduardo Rodriguez do in his first start of the season since going down with a knee injury in spring training? But E-Rod's much-anticipated night on the hill was relegated to sideline status because Mookie Betts took it upon himself to go out and beat the beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-2 at Camden Yards pretty much all by himself.

You think I exaggerate? This was the greatest example of a player doing it all by himself since Bugs Bunny played every position on the field in a 96-95 win over the Gashouse Gorillas.

First, the diminutive Red Sox outfielder led off the game with a solo home run to center. In the second inning, he added a three-run blast to left, and finished off the home run hat trick with another solo shot in the seventh. A career-high three-home run game that  accounted for five of the Red Sox six runs on the night, and just for good measure, Betts made a highlight reel catch to end the seventh inning when he chased down a bloop hit that was destined to fall into  no-man's-land. It was over the head of second baseman Dustin Pedroia and just in front of center fielder Chris Young, but Betts came sprinting out of right field like the Road Runner zipping past a Wile E. Coyote road trap, diving to make a catch that looked all but impossible until it actually happened. If I had to pick one player who best represents what's happening with the first-place Red Sox this season, it would have to be Mookie, who's playing the game with pure joy, effort, smarts, and hustle. His dash home from second base after a dribbler out in front of the plate by Xander Bogaerts in the previous game is a perfect example. Not many players would have had the cunning to realize that nobody was covering home plate as Bogaerts was being thrown out at first, and fewer would have the speed necessary to round second as the play was being made and make it safely across the plate to boot. Oh, and as for Bogaerts, his hitting streak is still alive, now at twenty-four striaght games after he singled in the seventh.

And now we can finally get to the performance by Rodriguez, a much-welcomed return to the rotation because despite how well the Sox have been playing, it's been mostly offense that's kept the team on a roll, and they will need to shore up the pitching over the long haul, and E-Rod is expected to be a big part of that. Last night he gave up two runs on six hits and got the win with an encouraging six-inning outing. Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth in a non-save situation, and one other note that Jackie nBradley Jr. was not at the game last night, awaiting the birth of his child. Manager John Farrell said after the game that if it's a boy, he should name him Mookie. He may or may not have been kidding.

It wasn't Mookie-good, but Kevin Pillar had a pretty good night himself for the Toronto Blue Jays, singling home the go-ahead run in the seventh inning and making a spectacular diving catch in center field as part of the Blue Jays' 4-1 win over the NY Yankees in Toronto. CC Sabathia pitched into the seventh, giving up just two runs, but Toronto did its damage against the usually reliable Dellin Betances, who ended up yielding two more runs in the seventh. The Jays have now won six of their last seven games.

The Chicago White Sox were desperate to stop a seven-game losing streak, and they did so in come from behind fashion against the NY Mets last night. After spotting the Mets a four-run lead, the White Sox battled back and won 6-4 after Tyler Saladino hit a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning off Hansel Robles. Rookie Steven Matz looked strong going for his eighth win in a row, but he faltered in the sixth, giving up three runs. Mets manager Terry Collins actually turned to his starter Noah Syndegaard for an inning of relief in the seventh and Syndegaard was perfect, but Robles couldn't hold the tie when Saladino took him deep the next inning.

The old joke is that everyone complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. Well, some of the players at the French Open think the tournament officials should have. Two of the top womens' singles players, number two seed Agnieszka Radwanska and number six Simona Halep have both been knocked out of the tournament, and both complained that officials made them play through wet, rainy conditions that made the clay courts at Roland Garros slippery and the tennis balls heavy with caked-on clay. Rain washed out all the games Monday but there was still a persistent drizzle yesterday that hampered play. Number one seed Serena Williams is still going strong, though, having just defeated Elina Svotolina in straight sets today. Number one mens' seed Novak Djokovic was up two sets to none and 4-1 in the third set when his match was suspended due to rain yesterday. In action today is number two seed Andy Murray and defending champ Stan Wawrinka.

Tonight in Pittsburgh it's game two of the Stanley Cup Finals with the Penguins up one game to none over the San Jose Sharks.
 

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station WBUR...as a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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