BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox had a problem hitting homers in 2017. But it would appear they don’t even need to hit the ball out of the yard to club some dingers in 2018.
In the second inning of their season opener against the Tampa Bay Rays, Eduardo Nunez sent a seemingly harmless blooper to shallow left-center. Tampa left fielder Denard Span and center fielder Kevin Kiermaier both dove for the ball, which bounced off the Tropicana Field carpet and rolled back to the warning track, giving Nunez plenty of time to touch them all. Rafael Devers also scored on the play to give Boston an early 3-0 lead.
Pretty interesting way for Boston to club their first home run of the 2018 season.
If you go back to last season’s ALDS against the Astros, Nunez’s four-bagger gives the Red Sox two inside-the-park homers in three innings, with Devers also racing around the bases in Game 4 against the Houston Astros.
Nunez has two inside-the-park homers in his career, both coming against the Rays (his previous one came in the 2016 season as a member of the Minnesota Twins). As for where his race around the bases fits into Red Sox Opening Day history, Nunez is the first player to hit an inside-the-park home run on Opening Day since Carl Yastrzemski did it back in 1968 in Detroit.
Unfortunately for the Red Sox, their bullpen blew a 4-0 lead in the eighth inning and they lost to the Rays, 6-4, on Opening Day.