Rick Porcello tops Drew Smyly as former Tigers duel
Boston — Mookie Betts didn't need any body English to coax his two home runs stay fair and help the Boston Red Sox snap a four-game losing streak.
On the night the Red Sox honored their 1975 AL championship team, Betts easily cleared the Green Monster twice to help the Red Sox beat Tampa Bay 2-0 in a matchup of former Tigers starters Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly.
They were teammates from 2012-2014.
Wearing the throwback uniforms from that team, Betts became the youngest Red Sox player to homer twice in a game since Jim Rice did it that year. And unlike Carlton Fisk's winner in Game 6 of the '75 World Series — which was accompanied by a lot or arm-waving before it hit the foul pole — neither of Betts' solo shots needed such assistance.
"I think we just needed a win," said Betts, still wearing the red and blue throwback cap. "But a win like this was huge."
Betts' first home led off the sixth inning for the first hit off Smyly, the Rays' starter. He added another in the eighth for the only other run the Red Sox would produce.
That was enough for Porcello (3-2), who was the starter in Boston's last win. He pitched seven innings of shutout ball, scattering eight hits while walking none and striking out six.
"On a night we needed a strong performance, he gave it to us," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
Koji Uehara pitched the ninth for his fifth save. The Red Sox managed only five hits in all — two of them off Smyly before he left trailing 1-0 after six.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said there is always the worry that the Red Sox can turn around a close game quickly.
"They're so powerful, and they've got a lot of guys that potentially can hit the ball out of the ballpark," he said. "So you factor that in."
The Red Sox had lost nine of their last 12 games to fall into last place in the AL East. And Smyly (0-1) held them hitless through five.
But after Betts after cleared the left-field wall in the sixth, Smyly gave up a one-out double to David Ortiz. The Rays left-hander, a former teammate and good friend of Porcello, then retired Mike Napoli and Pablo Sandoval to end the inning.
In all, Smyly allowed two hits and two walks and struck out six in six innings. Betts' second homer was off Ernesto Frieri to make it 2-0.
David DeJesus and Steven Souza Jr. each had a pair of hits for the Rays.
Betts has seven extra-base hits and eight RBIs in the eight-game homestand. His multi-homer game comes at age 22 years, 210 days; Rice was 22 years, 41 days old when he hit two on April 18, 1975.