A year ago, a 22-year-old Andrew Benintendi was getting ready to play in his 22nd major league game for an offense that was the best in baseball thanks to 40-year-old MVP candidate David Ortiz.
This afternoon, Benintendi wiggled his stake into the ground and proclaimed himself the most important hitter in the Red Sox’ lineup with another multi-hit performance from the three-hole.
Benintendi was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs to lead the Red Sox to a 6-2 win over the Oakland A’s that secured their third straight series win to finish the homestand.
Since going 0-for-18 with five strikeouts over a four-game stretch last week, Benintendi is 11-for-22 with six doubles and eight RBIs in five games. He’s not only the Red Sox’ hottest hitter since the beginning of August, he’s one of the hottest hitters in baseball in that span, out-hitting MVP candidates Jose Altuve and Jose Ramirez while providing the majority of the offense for the luke-warm Red Sox.
Drew Pomeranz threw another strong outing, going six innings and allowing just one run to lower his ERA to 3.28. It was his league-leading 21st start in which he allowed two runs or less.
The last-place A’s did him a favor, running into a pair of outs on the bases, including an inning-ending out in the fifth inning when it looked like they were about to knock Pomeranz out of the game.
With runners on second and third, Josh Phegley hit a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Matt Chapman, but Mark Canha got caught midway between second and third when the throw hit the cutoff man and Canha committed the sin of making the third out at third base.
Christian Vazquez drove his fifth homer of the season, this time clearing everything over the Green Monster to tie the game in the fifth.
Benintendi took over from there.
On a low breaking ball from starter Daniel Gossett, he took a smooth swing and lifted it to the highest part of the Monster in left-center to score Dustin Pedroia for an RBI double.
With Gossett knocked out of the game, Mitch Moreland doubled in Benintendi and the Red Sox had a 3-1 lead.
In the seventh, after Rafael Devers scored on a sacrifice fly, the Sox put runners on second and third for the sweet-swinging rookie and both scored when A’s reliever Santiago Casilla dropped a breaking ball that Benintendi casually pummelled to right-center.
Instead of the Red Sox’ bullpen sweating it out for three innings, they had a fluffy four-run cushion.
With his 25th…