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Benintendi continues to thrill in big leagues

Prospect breaks game open with huge three-run homer
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BALTIMORE -- Andrew Benintendi's left knee will be in a brace for as long as the Red Sox are playing this season, but that won't restrict him from big hits or even -- yes, Michael Jackson dance moves.

Benintendi put both those things on display while lifting the sizzling Red Sox to a 5-1 victory over the Orioles on Wednesday night.

Full Game Coverage

BALTIMORE -- Andrew Benintendi's left knee will be in a brace for as long as the Red Sox are playing this season, but that won't restrict him from big hits or even -- yes, Michael Jackson dance moves.

Benintendi put both those things on display while lifting the sizzling Red Sox to a 5-1 victory over the Orioles on Wednesday night.

Full Game Coverage

With two outs in the sixth inning, Boston was down, 1-0, when Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis made a two-run throwing error that changed everything.

Video: BOS@BAL: Ortiz, Betts score on throwing error

Up next was Benintendi, and he unloaded for a three-run homer to right, the second of his career. Benintendi delivered the home run on a first-pitch 94-mph fastball from Brad Brach.

"I was trying to get something early in the count because I feel like this entire series, it feels like I've had two strikes on me every time," said Benintendi, who is ranked the club's No. 2 prospect. "Just looking for something out over the plate and put a good swing on it."

Tweet from @RedSox: When you enter an inning ⬇️ 1-0 and end the inning ⬆️ 5-1. �� pic.twitter.com/GYSAVGPIIu

The 22-year-old continues to show how quickly he can make adjustments and compete at the highest level -- despite being in Double-A just seven weeks ago.

"There's a lot to like," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He's a good-looking young player. You watch him in the batter's box, as we've said, no panic in his swing, very calm, very smooth in all his actions, and for a young kid who steps into this pennant race, he's responded very well."

The only thing that has knocked Benintendi for a loop so far is that left knee sprain he suffered at Tropicana Field on Aug. 24, which at the time cast a doubt on whether he would play again this season.

The left fielder returned on Sept. 13, giving the Red Sox a spark in the No. 9 spot. Don't be surprised if he moves up to the sixth spot in the coming days.

"I've thought about it," said Farrell. "When we have our normal starting lineup in there, when Hanley [Ramirez] is in our five hole, that six spot is a key spot for us. That would certainly lengthen our lineup out."

Once the Red Sox won Wednesday's game, there was only one thing left to do.

Video: BOS@BAL: Red Sox outfielders celebrate win with dance

For months now, the three outfielders have done a victory dance after the final out. It is left up to the outfielder who had the best game.

This time, it was Benintendi, who broke out some Michael Jackson moves, circa 1984. The brace must not be that restrictive.

"I feel about normal," said Benintendi. "Other than wearing that brace, it kind of stinks. It's something I can deal with if it lets me be out there. But it's been extremely fun."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Boston Red Sox, Andrew Benintendi