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Mitch's Sports: Mookie's Home Run Hat Trick; Bruins In Dire Need Of Spark After Latest Loss

Mookie Betts had sat out the last three Red Sox games with a sore hamstring. Yesterday, he returned to the line-up and hit a home run for each game he'd missed.

Mookie's version of the baseball hat trick, three solo home runs in Boston's 5-4 win over the Kansas City Royals, marks the fourth time in his young career that he's hit three homers in the same game. And if you want some context for how truly amazing that is, consider that it vaults him past Ted Williams for the most three home run games in Red Sox history, and among the present day heavy hitters, Mookie now leads the majors in round trippers with eleven.

And when you look at Betts, you don't see the big hulking frame of an Albert Pujols or even his teammate J.D. Martinez, who also went deep at Fenway yesterday with a two-run blast, his sixth of the year. Mookie looks like what he is: a slender, fleet footed lead-off hitter, but he's got the same kind of lightning fast quick wrists that made a guy named Hank Aaron the greatest home run hitter of all time, before the steroid era of baseball threw all the round trip numbers into a tangle of controversy. Mookie can turn on an inside fastball and get it out of the park in a hurry. He's also got the patience to wait out a hanging curve ball and get on top of high heat out of the strike zone to launch the long ball, all of which were on display yesterday. And he's still just 25 years old.

But the Sox needed pitching help to nail this one down. One day earlier Craig Kimbrel had blown his first save of the season, failing to close out the game in the 9th with a one run lead, and he was thrown back into that same situation yesterday but this time, he struck out the side to win it, which included Alex Gordon, the guy who had touched him up for a home run 24 hours earlier. Drew Pomeranz, who's scuffled in his previous two starts since coming off the disabled list, had a better outing yesterday, giving up three runs over six innings.

Meanwhile the NY Yankees are nipping at the heels of Boston for first place, still just 2 games back after a 4-0 win over the Houston Astros, powered by the first career complete game thrown by Luis Severino.

Severino went the full nine, scattering just five hits while striking out ten, and Giancarlo Stanton is  out of the doldrums that marred the early part of his first season. He went yard twice yesterday, driving in all four Yankee runs as they take two out of three from the defending World Series champs.

What made last year's campaign miserable for the NY Mets was injuries, especially to their pitching staff, and the Mets faithful are hoping against hope they're not seeing a return of those troubles. That concern arose when starter Jacob De Grom had to come out of yesterday's game against the Atlanta Braves in the 4th inning with a hyperextend elbow, and once he was out of the way, the Braves feasted on the offerings from the Mets bullpen on their way to a 7-0 win. What adds insult to literal injury is that DeGrom didn't even hurt himself while pitching. The injury occurred while he was swinging at strike three during an at-bat, yet another reason why the National League should wise up and adopt the designated hitter rule already.

The Minnesota Twins were looking for answers, winners of just one game in their last 12, so they rolled the dice and turned to a rookie, pitcher Fernando Romero, and guess what? it worked, as Romero pitched brilliantly in his major league debut,  guiding the Twins to a 4-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays in Minneapolis. Romero went 5 2/3 innings while giving up four hits and three walks, striking out five.

Now, I know it's a totally different sport, but I wish Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy would turn to a rookie of his own, one he knows can skate like the wind, shoot like a cannon, and score some much needed goals. I'm talking about Ryan Donato, son of former Bruin Ted, who was mercurial form the Bruins in the last couple of weeks of the regular season but has seen action so far in only one playoff game for Boston in the post-season.

Well, after the Bruins ugly, dispiriting 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in game three of their second round playoff series in Boston last night, I say it's time to bring the youngster back. The Bruins were sloppy and sluggish out the gate yesterday, committing turnovers in their own end that led to two quick goals by Tampa's Ondrej Palat in just the first four minutes of the game.

And just when the Bruins looked like they'd climbed back into the game on a power play goal by Patrice Bergeron to make it 2-1, Boston gave the two goal lead right back on another botched defensive assignment near the crease that allowed Anthony Cirelli to score his first career playoff goal.

Now, Donato is a forward and I'm not saying he's the answer to the Bruins Keystone Cops routine in their own zone, but the other problem developing for the Bruins is that they're relying way too much on getting scoring from their number one line of Bergeron, Marchand, and Pastrnak. The second line is chipping in a little, but the third and fourth lines have been nearly invisible in this series and the Bruins need a spark to get some goals from other players and I don't see why taking a chance on a dynamic forward like Donato isn't worth a try in game four, which is really, other than game seven, the most pivotal and critical of any series.

The Bruins will either be tied up at two apiece after Friday's night's game, or be down three games to one heading back to Florida and facing elimination. Time for the Black and Gold to get bold and put the kid on the ice. Hey, it worked when they let Tyler Seguin off the leash against the Lightning back in 2011, so why not see if they can strike the Lightning twice.

The San Jose Sharks are even-steven against the Las Vegas Golden Knights following their game four 4-0 shutout at the Shark Tank last night. Marcus Sorensen and Joonas Donskoi scored early in the first and Martin Jones played his best game in goal for the Sharks this series, making 34 saves for the shut out. The series moves back to Vegas for game five.

In the NBA playoffs the Utah Jazz watched rookie Donovan Mitchell put back an emphatic slam dunk on a rebound of his own shot, the highlight reel moment in a big 116-108 Utah win over the Houston Rockets, which knots up that series at a game apiece. Joe Ingles led the Jazz with a career-high 27 points in the victory.


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 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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