OAKLAND — Jackie Bradley Jr.’s incredible leap will go down as the 2017 Red Sox catch of the year, unless someone pulls off the same magic trick in a game the Sox actually win.
The Sox center fielder didn't only rob a home run with a great show of athleticism in the ninth inning Friday night. He robbed what would have been a game-winning, walk-off home run in a tie at 2 with two out in the ninth inning.
The overpowering Craig Kimbrel was nearly burnt for the first time in a long time. With none on, Oakland’s Ryon Healy drove a 98 mph fastball over the middle to center field, drifting into right-center.
"It was so high you didn’t know if it was going to as far as it did," Sox manager John Farrell said. "But once he was able to get back there and able to time the jump, heck of a catch, no doubt."
Bradley Jr. was drifting too and timed everything perfectly, hauling in the ball at the apex of his leap. He sugarcoated the whole thing by casually running off the field, as though he didn’t just make an unbelievable play.
"I didn’t really have a reaction," Bradley said. "I was still kind of upset about my last at-bat [a strikeout to begin the ninth inning]. It’s one of those things where I’m just competing. I didn’t try to make it suspenseful. I started running in like I normally would. But it was fun to be able to do it."
The A’s finished the job the next inning, with Heath Hembree on the mound. Mark Canha hit a walk-off homer to left for a 3-2 A’s win. It was deep, and it was not playable.