BOSTON — Mookie Betts took away a two-run homer with a leaping catch. He stole two bases on the same pitch. Then he hit a three-run homer.

All in the first two innings.

Boston’s athletic, young leadoff hitter and center fielder thrilled the capacity crowd – and his teammates – at the home opener and started the Red Sox toward a 9-4 win over the Washington Nationals on Monday.

“He took the game over,” Boston Manager John Farrell said. “He’s a talented, exciting player.”

Betts, 22, made his major league debut last June 29 and hit .291 in 52 games as he made the switch from second base to the outfield.

Of his three highlights, he was most impressed with the steals. He stole second after walking in the first then continued to third when he saw it uncovered. He slid in ahead of pitcher Jordan Zimmermann’s tag.

Both steals were upheld on replay.

“It was kind of an energy thing,” Betts said, “giving myself energy as well as the team and the crowd.”

Rick Porcello (1-1) made his Fenway debut one week after signing an $82.5 million, four-year contract, allowing four hits in eight innings.

Two hits were solo homers by Ryan Zimmerman and Danny Espinosa.

The Red Sox led 8-0 after three innings.

Zimmermann (1-1) was as wild to start the game as Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, whose ceremonial first pitch to David Ortiz bounced in the dirt.

“I really didn’t have a feel for the ball and didn’t know where it was going all day,” Zimmermann said.

Ortiz capped Boston’s scoring with a solo homer in the sixth.

But Betts, who singled in a run in the third for his fourth RBI, was the star.

He leaped above the low wall in front of the Boston bullpen in right-center field to snare Bryce Harper’s drive in the first inning.

Zimmermann walked Betts on five pitches to open the bottom half and Betts stole two bases before scoring on Ortiz’s single. Betts’ homer made it 4-0 in the second.

“He pretty much did everything,” Porcello said.

In the third, Zimmermann hit Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval.

Helped by two misplays by center fielder Michael A. Taylor that fell for singles, the Red Sox made it 8-0 on RBI singles by Xander Bogaerts, Sandy Leon and Betts and a sacrifice fly by Dustin Pedroia.

“It’s tough to win ballgames when you can’t catch the baseball,” Washington Manager Matt Williams said.

The Red Sox improved to 18-5 in their last 23 home openers. The Nationals lost one day after snapping a three-game losing streak.

Porcello has allowed 10 hits in 14 innings since being obtained in a trade that sent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to Detroit. The only hit he allowed in the first four innings was a single by Yunel Escobar in the first.

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