BOSTON (CBS) — As superb as Mookie Betts has been with his bat and glove for the Red Sox, he’s been just as great with his legs. Besides racking up 23 stolen bases while getting caught only three times, Betts has been simply a good, smart baserunner, and he proved it Monday night in the Red Sox’ 12-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park.
In the midst of a five-run first inning, Hanley Ramirez ripped a single to left field to score David Ortiz, but Big Papi alone was not enough. Betts slowed down as he got to third base but suddenly took off for home once he noticed that Orioles left fielder Steve Pearce had was tossing the ball lazily back to the infield. Betts caught the entire Orioles defense napping for a split second on the play, which was all the time he needed to slide home and put the Red Sox up 4-0.
“It was the right moment,” said Betts after the game when asked about what led to his heady decision on the base paths. “We’re trying to be aggressive on the bases and we’ve been doing all year and [we will] just try and continue it.” He added that he’s always trying to “catch people slipping” and “keep them on their toes” when he’s on the bases.
You can watch the play in its full glory at MLB.com, but watch Betts’ picture-perfect slide below.
Red Sox manager John Farrell also spoke about Betts’ heads-up baserunning play after the game:
Betts’ baserunning is just another check mark on Betts’ MVP-caliber resume this season. He is slashing .313/.355/.546 overall with 30 homers and 104 RBIs, leads the major leagues with 329 total bases, and is fourth in all of baseball with a 7.0 WAR.