Mookie Betts heard the name Ted Williams, and that was enough for him.
Betts belted three solo homers and J.D. Martinez also went deep, powering the Boston Red Sox to a 5-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.
It was the fourth three-homer game for the 25-year-old Betts, snapping a tie with Williams for most three-homer games in franchise history. Betts broke into the majors with the Red Sox in 2014, so he was well aware of the significance of the connection to the Hall of Famer.
“It’s pretty cool,” Betts said. “He hit .400 in a year and did a whole bunch of things I haven’t done. Just to know my name is among his is pretty cool.”
Betts also hit three homers in a 10-1 victory at the Angels on April 17. He is the first player in major league history with four three-homer games before turning 26, according to STATS.
“We’re trying to shut them down just to get Mookie another at-bat,” Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz said, smiling. “When he gets going like that, that’s pretty cool.”
AL East-leading Boston won for the third time in four games after losing 7-6 in 13 innings on Tuesday night.
Cheslor Cuthbert homered for Kansas City, and Drew Butera had a two-run double. The Royals were trying for consecutive wins for just the second time this season.
Danny Duffy (0-4) was tagged for five runs and 10 hits in 6 2⁄3 innings.
Pomeranz (1-1) worked six innings, giving up all three of his runs in the first two frames. Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth for his eighth save and 299th of his career a day after his first blown opportunity this season.
Indians 12, Rangers 4: Edwin Encarnacion homered three times and drove in six runs, helping Corey Kluber and host Cleveland.
Encarnacion hit a three-homer in the first, a two-run shot in the second and a solo drive in the eighth. The designated hitter leads the team with nine homers despite a .191 batting average. Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor also connected in the Indians’ highest scoring game of the season. Kipnis’ three-run shot in the second was his first of the season.
Kluber (5-1) allowed three solo homers in seven innings in his fifth straight win. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner struck out six and walked none.
Twins 4, Blue Jays 0: Fernando Romero kept Toronto scoreless while pitching into the sixth inning of his major league debut against Marcus Stroman (0-4) for host Minnesota.
Eddie Rosario homered for the Twins, who won for only the second time in their last 13 games. Romero (1-0) struck out five in 5 2⁄3 innings while allowing four hits and three walks. Four relievers preserved the shutout, allowing only two singles the rest of the way.
Stroman, who turned 27 on Tuesday, gave up six hits, two runs and one walk in seven innings. He struck out five.
Tigers 3, Rays 2: Jacoby Jones led off the 12th inning with a triple and scored on John Hicks’ bunt single for host Detroit.
Hicks bunted toward first baseman Brad Miller fielded the ball and collided with righthander Matt Andriese (0-1).
Warwick Saupold (1-0) got three outs for the win, striking out two. Tampa Bay lefthander Blake Snell was pulled after he surrendered James McCann’s tying solo homer with two out in the seventh. Snell, who had won his previous four starts, gave up five hits, struck out four and walked one.
Michael Fulmer pitched six innings of two-run ball for the Tigers.
Cardinals 3, White Sox 2: Carlos Martinez (3-1) hit his first major league home run and also threw 7 1⁄3 effective innings for host St. Louis. Dexter Fowler added a two-run homer for the Cardinals, who won their second game in a row.
Chicago has dropped four straight and 13 of 17. The White Sox fell to a season-low 12 games under .500.
Rockies 11, Cubs 2: Nolan Arenado hit two of visiting Colorado’s season-high four homers and drove in five runs to back Tyler Anderson (2-0), who pitched seven innings.
Yu Darvish (0-3) got tagged for six runs — five earned — and seven hits in 4 1⁄3 innings by a team that began the day with the majors’ lowest batting average.
Giants 9, Padres 4: Nick Hundley homered, doubled twice and matched his career high with four hits, Brandon Crawford broke out of a lengthy slump with three RBIs for host San Francisco.
Austin Jackson added two hits and two RBIs and Derek Holland pitched five innings for his first win of the season for the Giants, who celebrated lefthanded reliever Will Smith’s first appearance in the big leagues in nearly 19 months after undergoing Tommy John surgery on March 30, 2017. Smith pitched one scoreless inning.
Most three-home run games in Red Sox history:
Mookie Betts 4
Ted Williams 3
Nomar Garciaparra 2
Jim Rice 2
Mo Vaughn 2
No Red Sox player has ever hit four home runs in a game.