BOSTON -- Jackie Bradley Jr. had been fed a steady diet of splitters in his first two at-bats Friday night against Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, so when the Red Sox center fielder strode to the plate in the seventh inning with New York holding a two-run lead and the tying runs on base, he knew exactly what was coming.
Tanaka threw a first-pitch splitter that Bradley crushed for a double off the Green Monster. The hit tied the game at 2 before a two-run home run by David Ortiz in the eighth gave the Red Sox a dramatic 4-2 win.
"It is one of those things where it just happens," said Bradley. "You don't try any harder, you just try to let the game come to you. It worked out for us."
Bradley's had a flair for the dramatic over the past week. He had a game-winning RBI in the 12th inning of Sunday's contest against the Astros and belted a solo home run in the seventh inning of Monday's 1-0 win against the Braves.
"More than anything, he's come up in some key spots," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He's put some good swings on some pitches. He hasn't felt for the strike zone. He's stayed aggressive, whether it's a fastball that he turns on it down in Atlanta or the split that stayed out over the plate tonight. I think he goes in looking for a certain pitch against a given pitcher on a night, and tonight a very timely one."
Ortiz has been impressed with Bradley's determination this season and sees a lot of himself in the center fielder.
"Playing at this level, it's a learning process," Ortiz said. "If you do well from the beginning, good for you, but I really like when younger players go through struggles at the beginning so they learn and know that you aren't suppose to take anything for granted. It happened to me. I went through the process. Once I learned it, I just kept working."
Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.