BOSTON (AP) — Mookie Betts capped his return to Boston with a second straight three-hit game, hitting a two-run homer on Sunday to spark the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 7-4 victory over the team he led to the 2018 World Series title.
Freddie Freeman also had three hits, and James Outman homered to help the Dodgers improve to 21-4 in August. Gavin Stone (1-0) earned his first career victory, following opener Caleb Ferguson to the mound and holding Boston to two runs over the next six innings before giving up homers on back-to-back pitches to start the eighth.
Playing in Boston for the first time as a Red Sox opponent, Betts collected seven hits and a series of standing ovations over the three-game set, acknowledging the crowd with a wave of his batting helmet on Sunday before he led off the game with a single.
Freeman doubled him to third, but Tanner Houck (3-8) got out of inning without allowing a run. Los Angeles scored one run in the fourth and another in the fifth before Betts cleared the Green Monster in the sixth to make it 4-0.
It was his 35th homer of the season, tying a career high he set last year. He pumped his arm as he rounded the bases, with the Fenway fans saluting the 2018 AL MVP with a mixture of applause and chants of “Mookie!”
Triston Casas homered in the bottom half for Boston before Outman added an RBI single in the seventh. Betts singled in one run and scored another in the eighth to make it 7-2; it was 7-4 after Turner and Duvall chased Stone in the eighth.
Ex-Boston reliever Ryan Brasier relieved him and retired the next three batters before Evan Phillips pitched the ninth for his 21st save.
Since starting the season 3-0 with a 4.29 ERA, Houck has lost eight consecutive decisions. He is 0-2 in two starts since spending two months on the injured list after getting hit in the face by a line drive on June 16.
Casas’ two-run drive in the sixth made it 4-2 and gave the Red Sox 16 straight games with a homer. It’s their longest such streak since August 2019. Boston has homered in 24 of its 25 August games.
After homering to lead off three straight games, Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo led off the bottom of the first with a groundout to Betts at second base. Verdugo’s three-game leadoff homer streak remains a Red Sox record and is tied for second-longest in the majors only to Baltimore’s Brady Anderson, who did it in four games in a row in 1996.
Red Sox: Placed LHP Brennan Bernardino on the COVID-19-related injured list and recalled LHP Chris Murphy from Triple-A Worcester.
Dodgers: Open a three-game series at home against Arizona on Monday night. RHP Bobby Miller (7-3) will start for Los Angeles.
Red Sox: Play the first of three games against the Astros on Monday night, with LHP Chris Sale (5-3) facing Houston’s Cristian Javier (9-2).
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb
Jimmy Golen, The Associated Press