In the first inning of Boston's 11-3 victory over Detroit on Saturday, Red Sox ace Chris Sale found himself with runners at first and second base and J.D. Martinez at the plate. The Tigers' right fielder hit a line drive off of a four-seam fastball that looked destined to land in shallow center field.
Bradley charged at the ball, diving in at the last second to make the highlight-reel grab.
"It's one of those ones where it's not hit as well as you think," Bradley said. "[Martinez] got in on it a little bit. I take off, I got a good jump, I put my head down and run to the spot and pick my head back up."
The catch ended the inning and prevented the Tigers from grabbing the lead. The Red Sox are 10-17 when their opponent scores first.
The odds were against Bradley making the play. In fact, the center fielder had only a 5 percent catch probability when the ball was struck, per Statcast™.
Even Bradley had trouble believing that statistic.
"Five percent?" he said. "Goodness gracious. I don't know what to think about that. I know it was a big play early on in the game. We were able to get some momentum from it."
Statcast™ rated the catch five stars, which would make it the first of that kind for Bradley this season and his 11th in the Statcast™ era.
For Red Sox manager John Farrell, Bradley's web gems have become a commonplace.
"Jackie is likely to get there somehow," Farrell said. "He's made his range so far, whether it's back into the triangle, whether it is coming in on a ball like he did tonight, that's not a real high probability, I guess, to complete the play. [He's a] Gold Glove center fielder."
Sale, who earned the win, said Bradley's catch gave him momentum to get past a rocky start and pitch a full seven innings.
"It sets a tone," Sale said. "I know I keep saying it like a broken record, but the confidence I have in those guys is through the roof because of that."
Evan Chronis is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston.