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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Jacoby Ellsbury Goes 30-30, Delivers When Red Sox Need it Most

Jacoby Ellsbury became the first Red Sox player in team history to go 30-30 after hitting his second of three home runs Sunday. Boston split their double-header against the Yankees, losing the first game 6-2 and winning the second 7-4 in 14 innings.

Ellsbury took A.J. Burnett deep twice. His first home run went to right center in the fourth. His second home run of the game — and 30th of the season — was a fastball over the middle that he bashed into the second deck. His solo bombs were the only runs Boston scored in the first game.

With the individual milestone out of the way, Ellsbury played the hero role for the team in the second game. The one-man wrecking crew crushed a low fastball into the bullpen to give the Red Sox a 7-4 lead in the 14th inning against the Yankees.

The Red Sox’s lead in the wild card had been dwindling, and losing a game in extra innings to the Yankees — while getting swept — would have been the cap on a forgettable September. Instead, Ellsbury delivered for the third time that day and helped the Red Sox maintain their lead in the wild card race.

Boston has received tremendous offensive contributions from Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, and David Ortiz this year, but perhaps no player has stepped up more than Jacoby Ellsbury. For a center fielder previously best-known for his speed, the 31 home run breakout season is a sign that he has become one of the AL’s elite outfielders.

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