After tracking down deep fly ball in center, rookie doubles off runner at first
BOSTON -- After his team took a three-run lead in the sixth, Jackie Bradley Jr. wouldn't let the Indians cut into that edge in the next half inning. What looked like an extra-base hit for Cleveland and at least one run quickly turned into a double play for the Red Sox.
Boston's center fielder initially took a step in when Michael Bourn drove a fly ball deep to center with Mike Aviles on first and one out.
"At first, I thought he got jammed, and I started breaking in a little bit and realized it wasn't going to fall in front of me," Bradley said with a laugh after the Sox's 5-2 victory.
Bradley immediately broke back and made an over-the-shoulder grab, pushed off the Green Monster with two hands and launched the ball on one hop to first baseman Mike Napoli, who came just a few feet off the bag to make the catch. Napoli had plenty of time to tap first and double up Aviles to end the inning.
"I take pride in myself having a strong arm," Bradley said. "I work on it daily. Do a lot of long toss, so I'm willing to throw with the best of them."
Bradley had a scary-looking collision with that same wall two weeks ago against the Rays. A ball bounced directly off the Monster on the fly and hit him square in the nose before he crashed and fell onto the warning track. The 24-year-old said collisions with the wall never linger in his mind.
"I think it depends on the person. For me, I'm getting back out there," Bradley said. "Fall down, get back on the horse."
Bradley hasn't made an error in 518 1/3 innings this year, has six assists and has started four double plays.
Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com.