Andrew Benintendi saves Red Sox with incredible catch to end ALCS Game 4

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.

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Andrew Benintendi's incredible catch saves game for Red Sox
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Andrew Benintendi's incredible catch saves game for Red Sox
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 18: Boston Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi catches a fly ball hit by the Astros' Alex Bregman for the last out in the ninth inning. The Houston Astros host the Boston Red Sox in Game Four of the ALCS at Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX on Oct. 18, 2018. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 17: Andrew Benintendi #16 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after catching the final out of the game during the ninth inning of game four of the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros on October 17, 2018 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 18: Boston Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi catches a fly ball hit by the Astros' Alex Bregman for the last out in the ninth inning. The Houston Astros host the Boston Red Sox in Game Four of the ALCS at Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX on Oct. 18, 2018. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 17: Andrew Benintendi #16 of the Boston Red Sox catches the final out of the game during the ninth inning of game four of the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros on October 17, 2018 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 17: Andrew Benintendi #16 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after catching the final out of the game during the ninth inning of game four of the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros on October 17, 2018 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Boston Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi, left, and center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. celebrate their 8-6 win against the Houston Astros in Game 4 of a baseball American League Championship Series on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 18: Boston Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi leaps into the arms of center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. after Benintendi made the catch for the final out of the game. The Houston Astros host the Boston Red Sox in Game Four of the ALCS at Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX on Oct. 18, 2018. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
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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.

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.

See more from the postseason so far: 

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The best photos from the 2018 MLB Postseason
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Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw warms up before Game 5 of the National League Championship Series baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
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Houston Astros center fielder George Springer, right, and shortstop Carlos Correa celebrate their win against the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 of a baseball American League Championship Series on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Boston. The Astros won 7-2. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Houston Astros' Carlos Correa celebrates after his RBI-single against the Boston Red Sox during the sixth inning in Game 1 of a baseball American League Championship Series on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Boston Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello celebrates after the last out in the top of the eighth inning in Game 2 of a baseball American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
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Colorado Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu walks off the field at the end of the fourth inning of Game 1 of the National League Divisional Series baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, right, scores past the tag of Cleveland Indians catcher Yan Gomes, left, during the sixth inning of Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
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