BOSTON -- A quick scan through the box score of Monday’s game could miss the impact Jackie Bradley Jr. had on the Red Sox’s 1-0 win over the Minnesota Twins. The eye likely would focus on his 0-for-3 showing at the plate, but Bradley’s arm once again was the catalyst to a key defensive play.
In a scoreless tie during the top of the third, Red Sox starter Rubby De La Rosa issued a one-out walk to Twins No. 9 hitter Sam Fuld, who quickly swiped second to move into scoring position. All it would take, it seemed, was a clean single from leadoff hitter Danny Santana for Minnesota to post the game’s first run.
Santana got his single on a line drive to center. In stepped Bradley to make the play.
“It was one of those plays where at first I thought I was going to be able to make the catch,” Bradley said. “Tried to keep it in front, especially with the game the way it was, pretty close. So I wanted to keep it in front.
“It was a line drive but I didn’t want to hold on to the ball. I wanted to make a throw toward the plate like I’m supposed to.”
Bradley did just that, firing a strike back into the infield that first baseman Mike Napoli roped in just behind the pitcher’s mound. With Santana having rounded first, seemingly expecting a throw directly to the plate to hold Fuld, second baseman Dustin Pedroia wisely covered first in order to create a potential rundown. Napoli initially moved toward Santana to apply the tag himself before looking back to notice an overly aggressive Fuld cheating in toward home from third. A throw over to Brock Holt at third sealed Fuld’s fate as A.J. Pierzynski took the throw from Holt and was able to tag him out.
The old 8-3-5-2 for the out. Credit another assist to Bradley, his seventh of the season.
“We played very good defense all around, particularly on that play where Jackie comes in, hits the cutoff man,” Farrell said. “We’re looking at a first-and-third situation and it turns out for us to get an out. And then Rubby did the rest.”
After the out at home, De La Rosa went on to retire 13 consecutive batters on his way to what would be seven shutout innings. And it was all made possible by a play that started with yet another picture-perfect throw from center.
“Jackie’s throwing arm is clearly a weapon,” Farrell said.