JBJ makes amazing walk-off-robbing catch

JBJ makes amazing walk-off-robbing catch

OAKLAND -- If it weren't for the late heroics of Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., Friday night's contest against the A's never would have reached extra innings. Even though Boston took a 3-2 walk-off loss in the 10th, Bradley's showstopping grab above the wall might go down as the Red Sox's top defensive play this season.

With the contest tied at 2 in the bottom of the ninth, Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel retired the first two batters he faced. Up next came A's slugger Ryon Healy, who belted a 2-2 pitch deep to dead center, but Bradley timed his jump at the wall perfectly to rob Healy of a would-be walk-off homer.

"I'm not sure [if it was the best catch of my career]," Bradley said. "I guess with the scenario and the way it was, it's up there."

While Healy looked incredulous as he took off his helmet and stared out toward Bradley, Kimbrel smiled and pointed toward his center fielder.

"He's a great center fielder," Healy said. "I don't know if 'surprised' is the right word, but it's not something I want to see ever again. But hats off to him."

As for Bradley, he just reacted like it was a routine fly out to end an inning, even though it was the first potential walk-off homer he remembers robbing.

"I didn't really have a reaction," Bradley said. "I was still kind of upset about my last at-bat. Just one of those things where I was just competing."

Alas, Bradley's catch didn't help lead to a victory for the Red Sox, as Mark Canha delivered a solo shot in the 10th off Red Sox reliever Heath Hembree.

Boston was unable capitalize on another strong start by southpaw Chris Sale, who tied an MLB record he already co-owned with Pedro Martinez by notching his eighth straight appearance with at least 10 strikeouts.

"That was ridiculous. That's as good of an outfield catch that you're going to see, given the situation," Sale said. "This is a big ballpark, and he had to cover a lot of ground. We all know that he's really good at doing that, but Jackie making that catch right there -- I said it out loud, I said, 'We're going to win this game.' That's how I feel about this team feeding off of energy and feeding off each other. Hey, we took one on the chin tonight. We'll come back tomorrow ready to rock."

Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area. He covered the Red Sox on Friday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.