BOSTON -- Moments before Jackie Bradley Jr. was off to the races to complete Wednesday's wild 5-4 victory over the Cardinals, his mind started racing with anticipation.And he wanted third-base coach Brian Butterfield to know exactly what he was thinking."I was telling Butter before the play, 'Anything off that wall,
BOSTON -- Moments before Jackie Bradley Jr. was off to the races to complete Wednesday's wild 5-4 victory over the Cardinals, his mind started racing with anticipation.
And he wanted third-base coach Brian Butterfield to know exactly what he was thinking.
"I was telling Butter before the play, 'Anything off that wall, send me,'" said Bradley. "And it kind of helped that we got the 3-2 count, so I would get a running start."
The Red Sox were down 4-3 with two outs. Pinch-runner Chris Young was on second and Bradley at first.
Bradley's inkling proved correct. Mookie Betts belted the 3-2 slider off the Green Monster, and as Young scored the tying run, Butterfield made Bradley's wish come true and waved him home.
"It hit off the wall and I was just trying to keep telling myself, 'Get the truck off my back,'" Bradley said.
During the first-to-home dash, Bradley had a sprint speed of 28.6-feet per second, according to Statcast™. His max-effort average this season is 27.3-feet per second.
Truth be told, Bradley also needed some good fortune.
Shortstop Paul DeJong picked the one-hop throw from left fielder Tommy Pham and fired home in an attempt to nail Bradley and send the game to extra innings. DeJong's throw was in time, but catcher Yadier Molina couldn't keep the ball in his glove.
Bradley initially missed the plate with his left hand, but touched it with his right to end the game and set off the ninth walk-off celebration the Red Sox have had this season, and the eighth since June 12. It was Boston's 12th win in the last 14 games.
"Obviously I could just see that [Molina's] getting ready for a play to happen," said Bradley. "I'm just running and I'm just trying to find any particular space or room I can slide in order to avoid the tag or go straight in. I pulled my hand back completely to try to avoid the tag so that I would at least slide past the tag. I knew I didn't tag it at first because he was blocking the plate. I didn't even pay attention to whether he had the ball or not. I was just trying to make sure I tagged the plate."
Given how fast Bradley was moving, was he surprised he was nearly out?
"I'm not surprised. Hot shot off the wall, the left fielder made a great play, barehanded it out there -- I saw the replay -- hit the cutoff man, and off to the races from there," said Bradley.
It was the capper of an eventful night for Bradley. In the top of the second, he made one of the rarest assists you'll ever see, getting Matt Carpenter going from third to home on a line-drive single to center by Pham.
Carpenter stayed close to third because he felt he was going to have to tag to score the run. But Bradley couldn't catch it in the air. Once Bradley gloved it on the bounce, he made a 95.8-mph throw home to nail Carpenter.
"Line drive, I actually started trying to take a sharper angle to it, but then it started coming towards me, so I had to readjust, and knowing I was going to catch it in the air, I just tried to get in front of it and make sure I'd keep it in front to body it up" Bradley said. "It hopped right in my glove. I saw he was maybe one or two steps from third base. I felt like I was shallow enough to try to make a play at home."
Ultimately, the night would come down to another play at home, and Bradley raced in for the victory.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.