By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Andrew Benintendi was one of the lone bright spots on offense in the Boston Red Sox’s 5-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians in Game 1 of the American League Division Series. But the rookie left fielder also made a key mistake in the field in an up-and-down postseason debut for the 22-year-old.
In the top of the third inning with the game tied 1-1, Benintendi crushed a 3-1 pitch from the Indians’ Trevor Bauer, which got out of Progressive Field in a hurry. Watch the home run in the video above, as Benintendi put what manager John Farrell called a “beautiful” swing on the ball.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, with the Indians up 4-3 and Rick Porcello still on the mound after allowing three home runs in the third, Indians catcher Roberto Perez hit a long line drive all the way to the left field wall. Benintendi played the carom perfectly and held Perez to a long single.
Though the rookie had shown impressive poise up to that point in the game, his lack of experience showed on the next batter. Carlos Santana hit a towering fly ball to the left fielder, who made the catch but was slow to make the throw back in, allowing Perez to tag up at first and make it safely to second base. Perez would score the eventual game-winning run on a Jason Kipnis single to center field just two pitches later to extend the Indians’ lead to 5-3.
Benintendi admitted he was not ready for Perez to go for second base in that situation and that he needed to show more urgency in the moment.
“I wasn’t planning on him tagging up. But, good baseball play by him,” Benintendi told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Jonny Miller after the game. “I just hesitated.”
The play was a hard-earned lesson for Benintendi, who otherwise had a strong night for a 22-year-old rookie in his first career postseason game. Benintendi also singled to right field with two outs in the ninth inning to represent the tying run in Dustin Pedroia’s game-ending at-bat.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.