The Red Sox center fielder made another great catch Sunday, one that was breathtaking even by the impossibly high standards he has set: a back-to-the-plate, over-the-shoulder, no-look basket catch of Jefry Marte’s drive to the deepest part of the ballpark to end the fourth inning.
But his contribution to Boston’s 7-2 win over Detroit didn’t end there. Bradley drew a bases-loaded walk to force in a run in the second, hit a full-count home run off Tigers lefty Tom Gorzelanny in the seventh, then delivered a bases-loaded triple in the eighth, giving him a career-high five RBIs for the afternoon.
Bradley came into the game hitting .121, and while the Red Sox had pledged, after the trade of Shane Victorino, to give him everyday playing time in the outfield, he hardly was making the most of the opportunity, batting .107 (3-for-28) in 10 games since his recall.
But Bradley's performance Sunday guaranteed that he will be given a longer look, although the imminent return of Mookie Betts on Tuesday in Miami complicates matters. The Sox already have ruled out moving Hanley Ramirez to another position, and they’re unlikely to deviate from their normal plan of playing Betts in center field, which leaves Bradley competing for playing time with Rusney Castillo and Alejandro De Aza in right.
Castillo made a leaping catch in right in the ninth to take away extra bases from Marte, the Tigers first baseman who earlier in the game watched helplessly as Bradley turned his back, ran to the wall, and with only the slightest glance behind him looked up and gathered the ball in his glove.
Sox rookie Henry Owens, making his second start, collected his first major league victory, allowing three hits and a run before departing after Ian Kinsler’s double in the sixth. The embattled Red Sox bullpen held the Tigers to one run thereafter, with Marte taking Justin Masterson deep in the seventh.