Bradley joins in the D-backs' fun on offense

September 21st, 2017

SAN DIEGO -- D-backs slugger J.D. Martinez was in the batting cage behind the visiting dugout taking some swings to get ready for his next at-bat when Arizona reliever stepped to the plate with runners on first and second with two outs in the eighth.

As Martinez watched on a television, he saw Bradley laced a single to center field that took one bounce and skipped by as two runs scored and Bradley made it all the way to third on the single and two-base error.

The extra runs proved valuable as the D-backs beat the Padres, 13-7, on Wednesday night at Petco Park. The win combined with a loss by the Brewers lowered Arizona's magic number for clinching a Wild Card spot to four with nine games to play.

"That thing was sick," Martinez said of Bradley's liner, which left his bat at 104.4 mph according to Statcast™. "That thing was awesome."

It was Bradley's first hit since July 27, 2016.

"I said, 'Oh my God, that might be a double,'" Martinez said. "And then when I looked back up, he's on third. That guy can move."

Bradley was a two-sport star in high school and signed a letter of intent to play quarterback for the University of Oklahoma before the D-backs picked him seventh overall in the 2011 Draft and gave him a $5 million bonus to give up football.

"I like to think of myself of still being an athlete and still being able to do athletic things," Bradley said. "So I just had to prove it. It's easy to talk about it, but I just had to do it."

Does he consider it a triple or does he go along with the official scorer who ruled a single and a two-base error on Margot?

"I'm just going to call it a hard hit with an RBI," he said.

After struggling the past couple of years to establish himself in the big leagues as a starter, Bradley moved to the bullpen this year and has been dominant. With 1 1/3 scoreless innings Wednesday, he lowered his ERA to 1.17 in 60 appearances as a setup man for closer .

With the D-backs desperate to snap a three-game losing skid and clinging to a 7-6 lead, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo summoned Bradley with one on and two outs in the seventh.

Bradley retired , and when his spot in the order rolled around in the eighth, Lovullo elected to let him hit so he could pitch another inning.

"It's just really cool for me for Torey to trust me to hit," Bradley said. "For him to still believe in me and have the trust for me to go to bat and be smart and not doing anything stupid to hurt myself or jeopardize what we're trying to do here, I think it's a cool moment, because I got to shout out to my 'pen down there. I know my boys down there loved it. It's just a vibe."

And for the D-backs, it was a positive one.