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Bradley's arm wins test vs. Hamilton's speed

@IanMBrowne
August 8, 2019

BOSTON -- Billy Hamilton’s blazing speed versus Jackie Bradley Jr.’s cannon arm. Now that’s a contest sure to create excitement, and it did on Wednesday night at Fenway Park -- before the game between the Red Sox and Royals was suspended in the 10th inning due to rain, with the

BOSTON -- Billy Hamilton’s blazing speed versus Jackie Bradley Jr.’s cannon arm.

Now that’s a contest sure to create excitement, and it did on Wednesday night at Fenway Park -- before the game between the Red Sox and Royals was suspended in the 10th inning due to rain, with the score tied at 4.

With the Royals leading 2-0 and center fielder Hamilton on second after a stolen base in the top of the fourth, Bradley camped under a Whit Merrifield fly ball to medium-depth center field that was shy of the warning track.

Hamilton might be the only player in the Major Leagues who would dare try to advance on a play like that, because he might well be the fastest player in the game.

Bradley threw a one-hop laser to third base, and Rafael Devers slapped down the tag for the out, creating an eruption in the stands and in Boston’s dugout.

Per Statcast, Hamilton had a sprint speed of 29.3 feet per second, slightly below his season average of 29.5.

“I tried to make something happen, but it didn't turn out the way I wanted it to turn out,” said Hamilton. “But I've got a lot of respect for his arm now. It's something that I've tried twice and failed at it twice, so there are some things you've just got to shut it down sometimes.”

Eduardo Rodriguez, the starting pitcher for the Red Sox, pointed at Bradley with excitement in acknowledgement of the play.

Several players in the dugout clapped, while watching Bradley’s ninth assist of the season, which put him in a tie for second in the American League.

“You see him running and he’s elite,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “And you see the ball, it wasn’t even close. That was electric. That’s what he brings to the table. That’s what he brings to the equation. He goes up and down with his offense but the defense is always there and he saves games, just standing in center field and making plays.”

When Bradley came back to the dugout after the inning was over, several teammates came over to congratulate him.

Bradley was the American League Gold Glove Award winner in center field last season.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.