Home News Rafael Devers hits 2 homers in opener vs. Padres

Rafael Devers hits 2 homers in opener vs. Padres

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SAN DIEGO – It turned out to be a case of wishful thinking for Xander Bogaerts, who spoke about playing against Rafael Devers for the first time a couple of hours before Friday night’s game.

“Hopefully he [doesn’t] hit [any] homers,” said Bogaerts. “Listen, that’s a dangerous guy, you know, especially when he’s in that box. He’s truly one of a kind and hopefully he takes it a little light on us because he can do damage.”

Light? Devers chose heavy.

Boston’s left-handed-hitting masher hammered two homers and drove in four, leading the Red Sox to a 6-1 victory over the Padres at Petco Park.

“Yeah, I was very happy today that I was able to hit two home runs, but this is baseball,” Devers said. “You have to take it day by day, and you have to keep making adjustments every day.”

Devers, the star the Red Sox extended for 11 years in January after being unable to find common ground with Bogaerts a month earlier, put his imprint on this three-game series early.

It was mentioned to Bogaerts before the game that the Red Sox are now Devers’ team. 

“It is [his team],” Bogaerts said. “And I think he’s the perfect guy, perfect person for that. He’s very dangerous when he’s up there, and obviously we know his defense is getting better every year and he wants to improve. But his bat will make you pay big time.”

When those comments were relayed to Devers, a smile came across his face. 

“Yeah, it makes me very happy to hear that he says those things about me and even more when we’re such good friends,” Devers said. “And it means a lot to me, those words coming out of his mouth because of what he’s represented for this organization and what he means [to] me. “

It was Devers who opened the scoring in the top of the second inning, when he ripped a solo shot to right against Blake Snell.

An inning later, Devers roped a towering, three-run shot to center (No. 13 on the season) that landed on some shrubbery. His second homer against Snell was drilled at an exit velocity of 109.4 mph and a Statcast-projected distance of 435 feet.

“He’s awesome. His swing is just amazing,” said Red Sox lefty James Paxton, who earned his first win since Aug. 15, 2020. “He’s so good on offense and does a great job at third base, too, He’s just an all-around, fantastic player. Fun to watch.”

Bogaerts could only watch in frustration as his team (20-25) lost for the third straight time and 10th in the last 12 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox (25-20) have emerged nicely from a recent skid to win their last three games.

For the Red Sox, the exciting thing is that Devers hasn’t gotten red-hot just yet. The two-time All-Star has a slash line of .264/.309/.557 with 13 homers and 44 RBIs.

Does Devers feel like he is starting to get hot?

“Right now I feel comfortable at the plate and I feel very good, but we need to see what’s going to happen in the next few games,” Devers said.

While Devers took center stage, Paxton fired six strong innings (five hits, one run, five strikeouts) for Boston. The “Big Maple” has been strong in his first two starts off the injured list.

“For him to come here and contribute and get that ‘W’ is big for the organization,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “The people in Fort Myers, all the trainers, the strength coaches, everybody has been with him through the same process. He opted in [with his contract]. Nobody thought that was going to happen. He decided to stay here because he trusted the process. He trusted the people here and they got rewarded.”

 And once again, the Red Sox got rewarded by having Devers as the centerpiece of their lineup.

“That’s a bad man,” Bogaerts said.

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