The Boston Red Sox prevailed 8-6 on Wednesday in a thrilling and controversial Game 4 to take a 3-1 lead in the American League Championship Series, but, for a moment, a game-tying hit flew through the air for the Houston Astros.
The ball never hit the ground thanks to a stupendous play from Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Astros third baseman Alex Bregman hit a sharp line drive off struggling Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel that had all the makings of a hit that would at least force extra innings. Benintendi reeled in the ball with a perfectly timed diving catch, a walk-off web gem.
Andrew Benintendi’s amazing catch to end Game 4
Benintendi was understandably fired up the second he was up from the ground. As were many of his teammates. As well as Red Sox radio announcer Joe Castiglione, who apparently fell out of his chair while watching the play.
the audio of joe castiglione falling out of his chair while calling the game-ending benintendi catch 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/3ihr0XFNwe
— joon (@joonlee) October 18, 2018
What led up to Andrew Benintendi’s catch
According to Statcast data, Bregman’s liner left the bat at 86.3 mph with a 79 percent hit probability. Had Benintendi missed the ball, it would almost certainly have meant two runs for Houston and possibly even a walk-off if the outfielder’s back-up wasn’t in position.
Kimbrel had struggled mightily up to that point, having allowed an earned run and six baserunners in two innings of work after entering the eighth inning with a three-run lead. David Price had been warming up in the bullpen, but Red Sox manager Alex Cora opted to stick with Kimbrel against one of the postseason’s hottest hitters in Bregman.
The decision paid off, and now the Red Sox hold a 3-1 series lead with a guarantee that the only way they don’t go back to Boston with a series lead is if they take the ALCS on Thursday in Houston during Game 5.
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