BOSTON (AP) — Mookie Betts didn't arrive at Fenway Park with any expectations. He wanted to be ready to receive whatever came his way during his return to face the first major league franchise he played for.
On a night in which he was embraced and celebrated by his former team and its fan base, he left feeling satisfied. And above all, with a victory.
Freddie Freeman had four hits, including a tie-breaking double, Betts doubled and scored two runs in his return to Boston and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Red Sox 7-4 on Friday night.
Betts, back on the field in Boston for the first time since he was traded by the Red Sox in 2020, was given a standing ovation prior to his first at-bat and went 1 for 4 against the franchise where he spent his first six major league seasons.
“I don't really remember what I was feeling. I know I was kind of shaking a little bit," Betts said. “But I'm just thankful. Thankful I got the ovation. ... Thankful we won.”
Dodgers starter Lance Lynn (10-9) allowed four runs off 10 hits over six innings, plus two batters, yielding two home runs. Evan Phillips allowed a hit and struck out two in the ninth to get his 20th save.
The NL West-leading Dodgers have won five of six. Max Muncy added three RBIs, including a two-run double in the seventh inning that made it 6-3.
Betts said the trembling feeling persisted through about third inning, but he was constantly helped to stay in the moment by Freeman , who checked in on him throughout.
“The whole situation took me a little bit to settle in,” he said. “Once I settled in I was fine.”
Freeman, who has gone through a similar reunion with his former Atlanta Braves team, said it brought back memories.
“For him to be appreciated tonight and then, obviously, tomorrow and the next day is just awesome to see, because he's an awesome person and he deserves it,” Freeman said.
The Red Sox got one run back in the bottom of the inning when Rafael Devers scored off a throwing error by Muncy. They had two runners on trailing 6-4 in the eighth, but after a single by Alex Verdugo, Connor Wong over ran second base, was caught in run down and retired.
Nick Pivetta (9-7) allowed four runs over two relief innings to take the loss for Boston, which had won its previous two. Starter Kutter Crawford lasted five innings, plus two batters, yielding two runs off four hits.
Betts popped out in foul territory to lead off the game. Then Verdugo, one of the players Boston acquired for the 2018 AL MVP, opened the bottom half of the inning with a first pitch home run that landed in the right field bullpen.
Trevor Story made it 3-0 in the second when he bashed a two-run homer into the Green Monster seats in left field.
Betts doubled to lead off the sixth inning and moved to third on a single by Freeman.
Crawford was pulled in favor of Pivetta, but it didn’t stop the rally.
Will Smith doubled, scoring Betts. Freeman then scored on a groundout by Muncy,
David Peralta grounded out. But Boston couldn’t get out of the inning before Kiké Hernández tied it with a single to center.
“It was a very special moment and I'll cherish it for the rest of my life,” Betts said.
Red Sox: Claimed RHP Zack Weiss off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels and optioned him to Triple-A Worcester. To make room on the 40-man roster, they transferred RHP Corey Kluber to the 60-Day IL.
As part of welcoming back Betts to Fenway, the Red Sox showed a highlight video from the 2018 World Series season that also included pitcher Ryan Braiser, now a member of the Dodgers.
In addition, Red Sox fans gave a nice ovation during Hernández’s first at-bat. Hernández played for Los Angeles for six seasons before signing with Boston in 2021 in free agency. He was traded back to the Dodgers in July.
Boston DH Justin Turner was a member of the Dodgers’ 2020 World Series teams.
Dodgers: LHP Julia Urias (11-6, 4.15 ERA) will face Boston for just the second time in his career. In his lone appearance against the Red Sox in 2019 he struck out two in two scoreless innings.
Red Sox: RHP James Paxton (7-4, 3.79) has pitched five-plus innings in 13 of his 17 starts. He is 1-0 with a 4.85 ERA in two career starts against the Dodgers.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb