Jackie Bradley Jr. is known for his impeccable aim as an outfielder, but on Sunday night he showed off a different kind of pinpoint placement.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the third inning, and the Red Sox trailing the Astros 4-2 in Game 2 of the ALCS, Bradley drove a 2-1 pitch high off the Green Monster. The ball took an unusual hop in the dirt and ended up bouncing off the side wall in left field not once, but twice, before it fell to the ground.
Left fielder Marwin Gonzalez – who was injured earlier in the inning after slamming into the Monster – eventually chased the ball down, but not before Rafael Devers motored all the way home from first.
“It was a hitter’s count,” Bradley told reporters, “so I just wanted to not do too much, see a pitch in the zone that I could handle, and I got it on the 2-1 count.”
— MLB (@MLB) October 15, 2018
The bases-clearing double gave the Red Sox a 5-4 lead and helped David Price breeze through a crisp 1-2-3 fourth while pitching with the lead. If the ball hadn’t taken that detour to the side wall and pogoed its way along the tightrope, it’s likely Devers wouldn’t have scored.
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) October 15, 2018
After the sequence unfolded, several people on Twitter praised Red Sox fans for not pulling a Steve Bartman. Bartman, of course, infamously interfered with the Cubs’ chances in 2003, but this time, there was no such misfortune.
Good job by the Red Sox fans not to interfere with that ball as it bounced along the padding back toward the infield. #NoBartman
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) October 15, 2018
The atypical dimensions of left field at Fenway came into play earlier in the inning as well, when Steve Pearce’s shot to left deflected off Gonzalez’s glove as Gonzalez crashed into the wall.