Photo by Rich Gagnon via Getty Images

The Boston Red Sox have started off the year strong, defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3.  22-year-old Andrew Benintendi rocked a three run homer to add to a lead that was never surrendered.

Benintendi was called up to the major league last summer and played his first game on Aug. 2.

In only his second year in the majors in one of the league’s most prestigious ballparks on opening day, Benintendi ignored the noise and pressure and just enjoyed the ride.

“It’s awesome,” Benintendi said to Masslive, “Something you dream about as a kid. For it to be here, it’s awesome. Just trying to feel out his pitches, put a good at-bat together, and hit the ball hard. It happens so fast, you don’t have time to think about it. You’ve got to be able to hit a fastball, and I guess I got lucky there.”

Benintendi with his play thus far has not been surprising to his teammates – especially fellow outfielder Mookie Betts, who praised the young man and his plate prowess.

“He’s a great hitter from any spot in the lineup,” Betts praised in his post-game interview, “He has great at-bats, makes solid contact, he pretty much does any and everything you want out of a hitter.”

Betts then went on to say that after watching Benintendi these past few months, he believes he is a great teammate and very trusted to make a big play.

“He’s just real cool, real chill, he has a quiet confidence,” Betts said. “You love it in players. Batting behind it and seeing it and knowing that he’s got a chance to go deep or get on base and more times than not, it seems like he’s going to get on base a lot, so he’s definitely fun to hit behind.”

Not only did fellow outfielders compliment Benintendi, Red Sox pitcher and Cy Young winner Rick Porcello gushed over him as well after the game.

“It looks like the sky is the limit,” said Porcello in his post-game interview. “He has a great feel for the plate and is extremely mature. He takes everything in stride, which I think is his biggest strength. He seems to handle the ups and downs of the game well. He’s fun to watch.”

The impact that Benintendi has made is reaching everywhere in Red Sox nation, and with 161 games remaining, it seems like he is only just getting started.

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