Red Sox: Andrew Benintendi fuels victory with historic night

BOSTON, MA - MAY 4: Andrew Benintendi
BOSTON, MA - MAY 4: Andrew Benintendi /

A historic night from rookie outfielder Andrew Benintendi led the Boston Red Sox to a win Tuesday night against the Texas Rangers.

Boston Red Sox fans were looking for fireworks on the Fourth of July and Andrew Benintendi was ready to oblige.

The rookie outfielder left his imprint all over Boston’s 11-4 victory in Texas. He made a terrific leaping catch that sent him crashing into the left field wall to rob Mike Napoli on a deep fly ball that had double written all over it. Instead of putting the Rangers on the scoreboard with a chance to tack on more, David Price escaped the inning unscathed with a tip of the cap to his left fielder.

The following inning, Benintendi sent a towering three-run shot into the right field stands that broke the game wide open for the Red Sox. He would later cap off his night in the eighth inning with a solo shot to left to give Boston a double-digit lead.

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Benintendi finished the night 5-for-5 at the plate. He fell a triple short of the cycle, which can easily be excused considering he opted for a second homer instead. His six RBI accounted for more than half the team’s runs.

This was Benintendi’s second five-hit performance this year, adding to the 5-for-5 night in Baltimore on April 23. Only this time his hits weren’t all singles. This time also made history. Benintendi is the first Red Sox rookie to have multiple five-hit games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The only other rookie to ever have a 5-for-5 (or better) game with at least two homers and six or more RBIs was Kevin Seitzer for the Royals in 1987. The former Royals infielder once went 6-for-6 with two homers and seven RBI against the Red Sox.

Benintendi entered the season with the expectation that he would run away with the Rookie of the Year honors. That he will almost certainly fall short of that outcome hardly makes his year a disappointment.

A brutal 0-for-26 drought in May took some of the shine off of an otherwise promising first full season in the big leagues. He has since shaken off that slump to deliver a solid June and is well on his way to topping that this month thanks to his historic game on Tuesday.

"“He’s been forced to make some adjustments and he’s done that,” manager John Farrell told reporters, per ESPN’s Scott Lauber. “Particularly as he’s gone from a guy who has used the whole field to maybe got a little pull-oriented, then had to readjust to use the whole field. He’s doing that. A really talented young guy.”"

Benintendi is now hitting .288/.361/.465 with 12 home runs and 50 RBI. He ranks second among qualified AL rookies in OBP, doubles, walks and RBI. He also leads his rookie class with 9 steals, putting him on pace to join the vaunted 20/20 club.

Most would consider that an outstanding rookie season, although in this case Benintendi has been overshadowed by the MVP-caliber campaign by Aaron Judge. However, we have to remember that Benintendi, who doesn’t turn 23 until July 6, is nearly three years younger than the New York Yankees slugger.

The Red Sox have moved Benintendi up and down the lineup, from the No. 2 spot in the order down to seventh and everywhere in between. Farrell is still looking to find the rookie’s comfort zone and often sits him against lefties. The inconsistency builds upon the inconsistent nature that most rookies struggle through, especially those who reach the majors at such a young age.

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Despite some early season struggles, there was never a doubt that Benintendi’s future remained bright. Now that his bat is heating up again he’s showing us why we put so much stock into the Benintendi hype train.