A little extra motivation goes a long way for Mookie Betts.
The Boston Red Sox outfielder slugged three home runs during a 10-5 victory against the New York Yankees on Friday night. As we learned after the game, he was inspired to do so after Make-A-Wish fan Nico Sapienza asked him to hit one during a pregame meeting at Fenway Park.
Alex Cora and Mookie Betts met a Make-A-Wish child this afternoon.— Chris Mason (@ByChrisMason) July 27, 2019
Apparently he asked Mookie for a HR.
Mookie gave him three.
Cora: “Besides being a great player he’s a great person.”
Nico’s wish was to meet Betts and attend a Red Sox-Yankees game.
The Red Sox did better than that, giving the Sapienza family a full tour of Fenway Park before letting him on the field for batting practice. It was there he met a host of other Red Sox, including manager Alex Cora and star hitters Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers.
"I'm glad he came. He was our good luck charm. He's a great kid. I think him and his family had fun down in BP and I think if I can kind of use the platform that I have to make people smile like that then I know I've done something well." - Mookie after meeting Nico Sapienza https://t.co/miYaaSDSgK— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) July 27, 2019
Betts went above and beyond as well once the game began. He delivered the first home run right away, leading off the first inning with a blast over the Green Monster against Yankees' starter James Paxton.
He would follow with two very similar looking home runs against Paxton in the third and fourth innings, bringing his total to three.
The reigning AL MVP actually had two opportunities to become just the 19th player in MLB history to hit four home runs in a single game. He doubled in the sixth, giving him 14 total bases in the game, before grounding out in the eighth.
Mookie Betts tonight.— Yahoo Sports MLB (@MLByahoosports) July 27, 2019
14 total bases, 4 runs scored, 5 driven in. Not bad. pic.twitter.com/gaDTMrhXta
It’s already the fifth career three-homer game for the 26-year-old Betts. That’s one off the MLB record held by Sammy Sosa and Johnny Mize.
After a relatively slow start to his season, Betts has come on strong in July. He's hitting .395/.465/.709 this month, which has raised his overall average from .261 to .289.
Even still, his power numbers have kinda lagged behind. He entered Friday with a modest 15 on the season, but perhaps his inspiration from Nico will serve as the spark that leads to another MVP finish.
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