Betts youngest with 2 HRs for Sox since Rice

With Hall of Famer in attendance, center fielder provides all of Boston's offense

Betts youngest with 2 HRs for Sox since Rice

BOSTON -- Wearing a vintage 1975 Red Sox uniform, Mookie Betts put on a power surge right out of, well, 1975.

The two-homer night by Betts was the entire scoring output for the Red Sox in a 2-0 victory over the Rays that snapped a four-game losing streak.

Betts, at the age of 22 years and 210 days, became the youngest player to belt two homers for Boston since Hall of Famer Jim Rice, who did it at the age of 22 in -- you guessed it -- 1975.

This was news to Betts.

"Nope, but now I know. I'm sure I'll talk some smack to him [Wednesday]," said Betts with a smile.

Farrell on 2-0 win

The magical '75 team, which came one rally from winning a World Series, was honored during pregame ceremonies.

But once the game started, the Red Sox needed to focus on the current state of affairs, which hadn't given fans much to smile about of late.

Betts lifted some tension from a frustrating homestand by breaking up Drew Smyly's no-hit bid with a towering shot off of a sign behind the Monster Seats to break a scoreless tie leading off the sixth.

"Just try to get on base and score a run no, matter how it is," said Betts. "You do know he has a no-hitter, so you always want to break it up, but then you have to step back and know it's a team thing, you have to score some runs."

The Red Sox didn't score again until the eighth, when Betts took another big cut and ripped one over the Monster against Ernesto Frieri.

Though Betts is hitting just .234 as Boston's leadoff man, nobody seems particularly worried about his modest start. Betts simply looks like one of those players who belongs on the Major League stage, similar to guys like Rice and Fred Lynn did back in '75.

Lynn, Rice in booth

"Well, for what we saw from Spring Training on, take away the average, his timing at the plate is pretty consistent, even though he's had some balls when they've been hit hard, they've been hit right at people," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "His hand-eye coordination allows him to get that kind of swing on a first pitch that he sees from Frieri. One heck of an athlete. We're seeing some pretty special things in a short glimpse here."

Blake Swihart, who made his Major League debut just a few days ago, has had plenty of chances to see Betts perform heroics in the Minors.

"It was impressive," Swihart said of Tuesday's show. "That's how special that kid is. He can do that any night he wants."

What does Betts make of the start he's had to his first full season in the Majors?

"I think it's been all right," Betts said. "I've had a couple balls that didn't fall for me, and I've mixed in some bad at-bats as well, but I feel like I'm close, right where I want to be."

Ian Browne is a reporter for Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.