BOSTON -- Trailing the Twins in the bottom of the fifth inning Thursday night at Fenway Park, the Red Sox were looking for any spark to erase the two-run deficit.Jackie Bradley Jr. seemingly found the best one via a Green Monster quirk.Following up a Hanley Ramirez leadoff walk, the Red
BOSTON -- Trailing the Twins in the bottom of the fifth inning Thursday night at Fenway Park, the Red Sox were looking for any spark to erase the two-run deficit.
Jackie Bradley Jr. seemingly found the best one via a Green Monster quirk.
Following up a Hanley Ramirez leadoff walk, the Red Sox center fielder ripped a 3-1 fastball from Twins starter Kyle Gibson toward the towering wall in left field, finding the protruding ladder that has been a longtime fixture of the Green Monster. The ball struck the ladder, and instead of caroming back toward the infield, the ball dropped straight down, allowing Ramirez to score all the way from first base. Based on its exit velocity of 92.4 mph and launch angle of 30 degrees, the double had a hit percentage of just 13 percent, per Statcast™.
The Red Sox went on to score three runs in the inning to take the lead en route to a 6-3 win.
"I honestly didn't know it until I touched first and saw it kind of make an awkward stop," Bradley said. "I saw it coming down and I saw it stop, then kind of shoot back up. First time I've ever seen that."
The ladder runs from the top of Fenway's manual scoreboard to the top of the wall itself. It was originally installed so that the grounds crew could retrieve home run balls that would land in the netting formerly atop the Monster.
Though seating was added to the top of the wall in 2003, thus eliminating the need for the ladder, it remained.
"I think it allowed me to get an RBI," said Bradley. "Without that ladder, Hanley's probably not going to score. It was able to keep the ball up just a tick longer than expected."
Twins outfielder Robbie Grossman peeled off his route when he saw the ball was going to hit the wall, backing off to play the bounce, only to have the ricochet off the ladder drop straight down to the warning track.
"It really deadened it," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It changed the carom and came straight down and died at the track and allowed Hanley to score. It's been in play for as long as I remember, but I can't remember it having that type of effect on a baseball."
Bradley would come around to score the tying run on a Deven Marrero groundout before Mookie Betts drove in the go-ahead run with a single later in the inning. Bradley went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored on the night.
Craig Forde is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston and covered the Red Sox on Thursday.