BOSTON — It turns out this Andrew Benintendi kid is pretty good after all.
The Red Sox won a tough game Tuesday against the New York Yankees behind a stellar effort from starter Rick Porcello, but on the other side of the ball, all eyes were on Benintendi. The 22-year-old left fielder made his Fenway Park debut, and he certainly put on a show.
Benintendi went 3-for-3 with an RBI, two runs scored and a controversial double that umpires ruled a home run before a crew chief review overturned the call. But not even missing out on his first big league homer by mere inches could spoil Benintendi’s night.
“It was fine,” Benintendi said of the ruling. “I was happy with whatever outcome they saw. My job was to get that run in from third base, and I did, so it really was irrelevant at that point.”
The Red Sox’s 2015 first-round draft pick is calmly taking everything in stride since making the jump to Boston from Double-A Portland, and that’s something that’s not lost on his coach or his teammates.
“He plays at a very even pulse,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after Boston’s 5-3 win. “He obviously shows and displays power against a good arm in (Yankees starter Luis) Severino, who was throwing the ball very well. He gets a fastball over the plate, drives it to the biggest part of the ballpark, but again, still very calm, good passes at the plate, doesn?t seem to be disrupted by velocity or a secondary pitch. He?s impressed.”
“Amazing night,” center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. said of Benintendi’s performance. “He played both sides of the ball very well tonight. It?s definitely a lot of fun seeing him perform tonight.”
Benintendi went 3-for-4 in his last game Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, making him the first Red Sox player since 1913 with back-to-back three-hit performances in his first six games. It’s pretty safe to say this call-up is working for Boston so far.
Here are some more notes from Tuesday’s win.
— Rick Porcello earned his 100th career win, becoming the fourth active pitcher to reach the milestone before his 28th birthday. The right-hander has some pretty elite company on that list, joining Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez and CC Sabathia.
— Dustin Pedroia drove in three runs Tuesday, and the outcome is usually good for the Red Sox when the second baseman tallies at least one RBI. Boston is 22-9 when Pedroia drives in a run and is 11-2 when he knocks in more than one.
— Jackie Bradley Jr. made an amazing throw to nab Yankees third baseman Chase Headley trying to advance to third in the seventh inning. The benches cleared following the play after Headley exchanged words with Porcello.
As are the unwritten rules of baseball, Porcello wouldn’t divulge what the argument was about.
“I think first and foremost you focus on your job and doing your job and winning ballgames, but I think there?s also times where you need to say some stuff that you have to say, and that?s really it,” Porcello said. “It was one of those moments where I felt like I needed to say something, and I did. So, it?s between me and him. He knows what I said, and we?ll leave it at that.”
For what it’s worth, it was Bradley’s 11th outfield assist, which leads all major league center fielders.
— Craig Kimbrel had a rough ninth inning, walking four men to force in a run with two outs. The closer acknowledged his knee was sore but said that’s not why he lacked command Tuesday.
Kimbrel said the Red Sox have gone through all the proper steps of his treatment and he expects lingering soreness after getting surgery on his meniscus.
“We?ve been on it ever since the day after surgery,” Kimbrel said. “We?re doing everything we can, and we?re doing a great job, and I?m on the field right now. Obviously my performance wasn?t very good tonight, but I?m able to perform at the professional level, so it?s feeling all right.”
— Matt Barnes ended the game with a strikeout to first baseman Mark Teixeira with the bases loaded, though.
“Those are the moments you kind of live for, the high-stress, do-or-die moments, and that?s part of the reason why we do it,” Barnes said.
— And speaking of injuries, Farrell said after Tuesday’s game that catcher/outfielder Blake Swihart will need ankle surgery, which will happen “in the coming days.” The skipper didn’t say for how long it would sideline Swihart.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images