MLB: New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox

Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez delivers a pitch during the first inning of Saturday’s game against the Yankees at Fenway Park.

The baseballs keep flying. The records keep falling.

Friday night was just another record night for home run balls around the majors. Recently, Joe Maddon said they should just stamp the word “Titleist” on the baseballs. He might be right.

Mookie Betts hit three straight homers at Fenway – the fifth time in his career he has accomplished that feat, one off the all-time record. But it was also the fourth straight night someone hit three homers in a game — a new mark.

First it was Robinson Cano of the Mets. Then Paul DeJong of the Cardinals, followed by Minnesota’s Nelson Cruz and then Betts, who doubled and grounded out in his final two at-bats in the second straight rout of the Yankees.

Three homers in a game four nights in a row.

The same night, Cruz’s Twins hit their 200th home run of the season, becoming the fastest team ever to that mark – and they smashed the record by 19 games. Two hundred homers in 103 games.

The Twins had just come off going 1-2 in a series against the Yankees, with the teams combining for 20 homers in the three games.

“It just flashed across the screen. It’s pretty cool. It’s special,” said Max Kepler, whose 27th of the year was the Twins’ 200th. “I looked at the lineup before spring training and was like, ‘This team can do damage. It’s just a matter of if we stay healthy and in the right mindset.’ And we have done that so far. It’s been pretty fun to watch.”

Betts trails only Johnny Mize and Sammy Sosa, who both hit three bombs in a game six times – and he’s just 26 years old.

He hit three straight homers off James Paxton – and did it on a special night.

Betts was visited pre-game by 10-year-old Nico Sapienza of Saugus, Ma., who there was a guest of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Hitting one homer would have been cool. Hitting three?

“I’m glad he came,” Betts said. “He was our good luck charm. He’s a great kid. I think him and his family had fun down in BP, and I think if I can kind of use the platform that I have to make people smile like that, then I know I’ve done something well.”

On Thursday night, Xander Bogaerts‘ mom was a late arrival to Fenway because of traffic leaving Logan Airport after her arrival from Aruba. So she missed his three-run shot in the first inning. But then he got a chance to hit another – off Yankee catcher Austin Romine – in the eighth inning of the 19-3 shellacking, and got it.

”I hit the first one and they weren’t here and then I looked up and saw them arrive and struck out. I’m like, ‘typical’,” he said after connecting on a 74 mph pitch. “But then they were there the whole game, I got a couple of hits and the last at-bat I saw my mom there and I’m like, ‘I’m going to try.’ It didn’t work out for a couple of pitches, but I was happy it did.”

Bogaerts and Rafael Devers have both continued their magical runs and could force their way into the MVP conversation if they keep going the way they have been.

A look around

Now we take you on our weekly Sunday trip around the sports landscape:

Welcome back to the NHL, Marc Savard, whose concussion symptoms have apparently subsided. “Marc Savard, who had a 13-year NHL career and posted 706 points in 807 regular-season games, has joined Craig Berube’s staff as an assistant coach,” the Blues announced in a release. …

Bill Belichick on soon-to-be Hall of Famer Ty Law: “Ty was a great player for us. He had a great career. I coached him as an assistant coach in ‘96 and as a head coach when I came back in 2000, so I think he’s one of the top players in his position – certainly as good as anybody I’ve ever coached at that position – him and [Everson] Walls. It was the end of Everson’s career, so it was a little bit different. End of [Frank] Minnifield‘s career in Cleveland, too, but yeah he was a great player. He had a great impact on our team and our organization. I don’t think we would have had the success we’ve had without him. We would have had success, but he was a big part of it.” …

The Bruins’ Fan Fest Tour hits Manchester’s Arms Park on Aug. 17 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. It’s free but the Bruins, in a release, announced, “Fans are also encouraged to pre-register for Fan Fest to expedite entry. To register, and for more information, fans can visit BostonBruins.com/FanFest.” …

Joe Torre is the first manager to have three pitchers – Mariano Rivera, Mike Mussina and Lee Smith – enshrined in Cooperstown in the same year. …

Cano, who has had a miserable season with the Mets, became the oldest second baseman (36) to hit three home runs in a game. Speaking of middle infielders, Didi Gregorius became the third shortstop with five hits and seven RBIs in a game, and DeJong delivered his three-homer game (the third off a position player) to go with a double – making him the fourth shortstop in the live-ball era with 14 totals bases in four at-bats in a game. Old pal John Valentin is one of the others. …

I have said this many times in the past, but NO ONE wakes up in the morning, looks in the mirror and thinks about what he or she can do to mess up their life on that day. Dwight Gooden is in rehab again – and we wish him nothing but the best. …

Some stats from Friday night: Michael Chavis is the first Red Sox rookie with nine-plus RBIs against the Yankees since George Scott in 1966. … Paxton, turning in the sixth straight horrible start for his team (two by him) is the first Yankee ever to allow seven runs or more while striking out nine and walking none. … Devers is the youngest Sox player with 32 RBIs in a month since Ted Williams in 1939. ...

Sony Michel was taken off the PUP list and joined practice Saturday. “It’s always great to come back out with the guys and play some football,” he said. ...

From the Walkup Song Dept.: Christian Vazquez came to the plate Friday night to that childrens’ Baby Shark song. He went 0-for-4, do-do-do-do-do-do. ...

Mets TV voice Gary Cohen on Jeff McNeil: “He is a terrific glove on a team that does not have a lot of terrific gloves.” …

Jamie Collins is back with the Patriots, and apparently very happy to be in Foxborough. “I’m very excited,” he says. “It’s another day. It’s our job, it’s my job, so what it is here, whatever my job is, I have a great opportunity to be back in a position to do your job and what you’re really good at. I’m very happy to be back.” ...

The Giants have been on fire, creating a trade deadline dilemma (do they got for it?) – and Pablo Sandoval and Mike Yastrzemski are right in the middle of it. From MassLive’s Chris Smith: “Pablo Sandoval out there hitting walkoff homers and winning heart and hustle awards while his $19M AAV counts toward the Red Sox’s 2019 payroll and he’s collecting $18.045M from Boston this year.” And ESPN pal Marly Rivera writes: “Pablo Sandoval told me that because he can’t pronounce his last name, he calls Mike Yastrzemski “Glass-of-whiskey”, which Yaz loves. Buster Posey said Sandoval is one of the guys that’s responsible for keeping the clubhouse loose and energized this season.” ...

Strange but true: Paul George says he worked “hand-in-hand with the front office” to make his move from OKC to LA. “We had a great relationship,” he said. “I played two good years there, and it was a mutual thing between both of us that the time was up.” ...

New TE Lance Kendricks on what it’s like starting to work with Tom Brady: “He’s cool. He’s super chill in the huddle. He definitely leads the pack. It’s fun. I can’t wait to get out there a little bit more with him.” …

UConn will pay the American Athletic Conference $17 million to leave the league and go back to the Big East for basketball. The Huskies switch leagues after the upcoming season. …

Al Horford laughs off the Celtics’ tampering claim, telling Dan Patrick, “Well, what can I say? It’s just, to me, kind of ridiculous. “It is what it is. I mean, you know Danny. I love Danny. You know, Danny was always really good to me and I know that he was definitely frustrated (that) things didn’t work out with us.” ...

Defensive lineman Adam Butler was an undrafted free agent when he arrived at Pats camp two years ago. Things are different now, but Butler hasn’t forgotten, saying, “I think about it all the time. That’s just something that just keeps me going. I think about where I was and where I am now. So I just try to be better every day.” …

ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, appearing on Michael Holley‘s podcast, said Kyrie Irving “soured” on Ainge early last season and it carried over to the bench and the coach. “I don’t know why. But I was hearing by December he’s frustrated with Danny,” MacMullan said.” “I don’t know what it is, I still don’t know the answer. Kyrie has never told me.” …

I was deeply saddened this week at the passing of Cathy Inglese, gone way too soon at 60. The former UVM women’s hoop coach, who had two straight undefeated seasons with the Catamounts before moving on to Boston College and the University of Rhode Island as a head coach — and Fairleigh Dickinson and, more recently, Hofstra as an assistant — suffered a traumatic brain injury in a fall. Quality person both on and off the court. …

Bruins rookies will face the Sabres, Penguins and Devils from Sept. 6-9 in Buffalo. The roster will include Anders Bjork, Trent Frederic, Karson Kuhlman, Zach Senyshyn and defensemen Connor Clifton, Jeremy Lauzon, Urho Vaakanainen and Jakub Zboril. ...

From the YES Network’s Jack Curry: “Jorge Posada told me Mariano Rivera called and told him “I need you here.” So Posada said (Derek) Jeter chartered a plane and they flew in from Florida (last Saturday) night. The forever teammates hung out together (Sunday) morning. Posada was moved by Rivera’s speech and said he almost wept.”

Russell Westbrook says they won’t need two basketballs for he and James Harden in Houston. “I’m not worried about it,” Westbrook said Friday. “I know James is not worried about it. I can play off the ball. I don’t have to touch the ball to impact the game. ... I can do other things on the floor to be able to make sure we have a better chance of winning.” …

You wonder if the same fate awaits Dustin Pedroia (and also Jacoby Ellsbury), but Troy Tulowitzki gave in to his injuries and retired late last week. “I’m saying goodbye to Major League Baseball, but I will never say goodbye 2 the game I love,” he said in a statement. “Thanks again 2 all of you!” …

NBA headline in The Athletic this week: “Way-too-early Playoff Picture: The East is wide open and ripe for a new ruler.” From Zach Harper: “The departure of Kawhi Leonard makes it feel like an instantly wide-open race. The Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers seem to have the clearest paths to the NBA Finals, but that doesn’t mean other teams can’t start making their moves. Indiana, Boston, Brooklyn and Toronto still want to be in the mix. Teams like Orlando, Miami and Detroit want to prove they belong in the tier above them. Teams like Chicago, Atlanta and maybe even Washington want to get into the mix.” …

Great note from local baseball historian Jim Prime: Tony Gwynn faced Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Greg Maddux a total of 323 times. He struck out THREE times. …

The Celtics have purchased the G-League Maine Red Claws, who may well have a Tacko Tuesday or two if Tacko Fall continues his development this coming season. …

Hey, you won’t have Mark Sanchez to kick around anymore – ON the field at least. He has retired and is joining ABC/ESPN as a lead studio guy for college football. The guess here is he crushes it. Oh, and our pal Rob Ninkovich is also ESPN-bound. ...

Finally, so happy to hear David Ortiz is out of the hospital and resting at home.

Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is shalinmike@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @mscotshay.