Rookie outfielder continues to impress, just misses homer
By Ian Browne
BOSTON -- Andrew Benintendi introduced himself to his new home office and the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry with an array of line drives, including one that came maybe an inch or two from being a home run.
On the one-week anniversary of Benintendi making his highly-anticipated debut at Safeco Field, the outfielder kicked off the Fenway Park portion of his career with a 3-for-3 night that helped fuel the Red Sox to a 5-3 win over the Yankees on Tuesday.
"It's something I've dreamt of, not just since I've been drafted, but since I was a little kid," said Benintendi. "To walk into the stadium and take BP and things like that, especially here at Fenway, it's a dream come true."
The diminutive outfielder's latest hitting show came right on the heels of his 3-for-4 performance at Dodger Stadium on Sunday night.
"It's crazy," said Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello, who earned his 15th win. "Seeing him get drafted a year ago and he's up here in the big leagues getting three hits in multiple games, it's pretty fun. But you can see why with his swing and his speed and the things that he's able to do at the plate why he's such a highly touted player. We're happy he's up here."
As for that near home run, here is what unfolded in the bottom of the fifth.
Benintendi drilled one to the exact point of the Green Monster that intersects with the lower wall in center field.
If a ball hits the wall to the right of the yellow line, it is a homer. If it hits to the left, it is in play. Benintendi's drive actually appeared to hit off the line, and he pulled into second with a double.
But after the umpires met in the middle of the diamond, it was temporarily ruled a home run, and Benintendi completed his trot home from second to the roar of the crowd.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi asked for crew chief review, and he was granted his wish. Following a review of three minutes and 32 seconds, the call was overturned and Benintendi went back to second base.
"I was standing on second initially. I was happy to get the run in," said Benintendi. "When they reviewed it, whatever happens, happens, it's out of my control. I was happy to get the run in."
It might be many years before someone hits one off of that thin yellow line instead of to the left or right of it.
"I've never seen it in eight years in this ballpark. I've never seen that play happen," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.
Fortunately for the Red Sox, Benintendi scored later in the inning on an RBI double by Dustin Pedroia. Boston scored three in the inning.
According to Statcast™, the drive had an exit velocity of 102 mph and was projected to land 405 feet away from home plate.
Benintendi also helped start a two-run rally in the third with a one-out single. He capped his stellar night with a hard single off the glove of second baseman Starlin Castro in the seventh.
"He plays at a very even pulse," said Farrell. "He obviously shows and displays power against a good arm in [Luis] Severino, who was throwing the ball very well. He gets a fastball out over the plate and drives it to the biggest part of the ballpark. He doesn't seem to be disrupted by velocity or secondary pitches. He's been impressive."
It has been a whirlwind first week in the Major Leagues for Benintendi, who was selected from Double-A Portland on Aug. 2. The Red Sox took Benintendi with the seventh overall selection in the 2015 Draft.
"An amazing night," said Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. "He played both sides of the ball well tonight. It was a lot of fun seeing him perform. He's pretty special and he's going to help this team win."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.