Alex Bregman hasn’t forgotten about Andrew Benintendi’s game-saving diving catch in Game 4 of last year’s American League Championship Series.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, Benintendi robbed Bregman of a hit that would have at least tied the game up for Houston. It was a crucial play that ultimately led to the Red Sox defeating the Astros in five games to advance to the World Series.
Five months later, Bregman described his mindset when he stepped up to the plate in the crucial situation to face Sox closer Craig Kimbrel.
“Well, I faced [Kimbrel] in Game 2 with the same opportunity to tie the game if I hit a homer,” Bregman told Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. “and I was thinking a little bit like, more of, I wasn’t thinking as much on top of the baseball. And I flew out to the warning track. I just hit it too high. So I tried to overcorrect that and hit a line drive there just to score the run.”
The rest is history. Benintendi came up with the play of the year, the Astros later were sent packing, and the Red Sox eventually became 2018 World Series champions. Bregman says he’s rewatched the play, and had nothing but nice things to say about Boston’s left fielder.
“I rewatched it a few times,” Bregman said. “Off the bat I thought it was down. And Benintendi made an unbelievable play. And he’s an unbelievable baseball player. We played against each other in college and then now in the big leagues. It’s been amazing to watch his career and now I root for him.”
Bregman enjoyed a stellar 2018 season, but the Astros third baseman admits Benintendi’s grab has driven him to be even better in 2019.
“A hundred percent [driven by the catch],” Bregman said. “But, at the same time, you just add little pieces to the fire as you go. And when you’re on your 15th set in the weight room and you’re like, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore,’ you think about, ‘Do one more and that ball will fall.'”
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.