Betts ‘overaggressive' decision a costly one for Sox


BOSTON -- There's a time and a place for everything. Mookie Betts found that out the hard way Friday night.

With the Red Sox trailing the Astros by a run in the eighth inning, Betts reach base as the leadoff hitter. Brock Holt sacrificed him to second for the inning's first out.

Then, with Xander Bogaerts up and the count 2-and-1, Betts took off for third base. Astros catcher Jason Castro made a perfect throw to third baseman Luis Valbuena to nab Betts at third base for the inning's second out (WATCH).

It gets worse from there. Bogaerts wound up walking, so instead of having runners on first and second with one out, the Sox had a runner on first and two outs. David Ortiz followed with a drive to the wall in left-center field that hit the upper lip of the scoreboard and caromed high in the air. It took so long to come down that Bogaerts was able to score from first, tying the game at 8-8.

Had Betts still been on the second, he would have scored, too, and the Red Sox would have taken a 9-8 lead. And when Koji Uehara retired the side in the top of the ninth, the Sox would have won the game . . . instead of losing in 10, as they wound up doing.

"Overaggressive. Ill-advised. Overaggressive," said manager John Farrell, not attempting to gloss over Betts' blunder. "We [sacrificed] to get him into scoring position because [Astros pitcher Pat] Neshek is under 1.15 seconds (in delivering a pitch to the plate). Overaggressive decision on his part, attempting to steal."

Betts said after the game that he thought he saw something that made him think he had the advantage in stealing third base. It turns out he was wrong, and he admitted he "messed up".

"I just thought I had a sign," he said. "[Neshak is] a tough (pitcher against right-handed hitters, like Bogaerts) . . . [I was] just trying to force something and shouldn't have. Hindsight, you can always make the right decision. If I'm safe it's a great play, if I'm out it's terrible.

"So you just have to live and learn from it."

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