Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is batting .142. He has no home runs and just five RBI's and we're already into the second month of the season. So what is he still doing in the Red Sox line-up? I'll tell you what he's doing. He's saving ball games with his glove, that's what.
Last night in Baltimore, Bradley literally saved the Red Sox from a loss when Trey Mancini came to the plate in the bottom of the 11th in a 1-1 game and blasted a shot deep to center off Ryan Brasier. The ball was sailing over the wall for a walk-off home run until Bradley got a foot on the padding of the wall, propelled himself in one motion above the ledge, and grabbed the ball while it was arcing well over the fence, bringing it back for a long out that kept the game tied.
Brasier put his hands on his knees and exhaled while shaking his head in disbelief. Mancini rounded first, tipped his helmet to Bradley, and jogged back to the dug-out. The very next inning Andrew Benintendi hit a home run that no one could bring back and the Red Sox won the game 2-1 to even their record at .500 for the first time since they were 1-1 to start the year.
The other good news for the Red Sox was a dominating starting performance by Chris Sale, who didn't give up a hit until the sixth inning, struck out 14 and allowed just one run on three hits in eight innings of work. And in the 7th he pitched an immaculate inning--striking out the side on a minimum of nine pitches. That's the Chris Sale Red Sox fans have been longing to see this year.
Ryon Healy homered and added three doubles as the Seattle Mariners routed the NY Yankees 10-1 at the Stadium, and the Mariners got a brilliant start of their own from Japanese rookie Yusei Kikuchi, the lefty giving up just three hits in 7 and 2/3 innings, but the Yankees may ask the league to look at Kikuchi's cap. After the game Yankee manager Aaron Boone said a dark substance was visible under the brim of the pitcher's cap, the speculation being that it could be pine tar, which allows pitchers to get a better grip on the ball but is also illegal to use. The Mariners offered no comment.
The San Diego Padres beat the NY Mets 3-2 in much the same way the Red Sox beat the Orioles last night. Outfielder Manuel Margot robbed Pete Alonso of a home run in a tie game in the sixth, and Hunter Renfroe of the Padres hit a homer off Mets reliever Tyler Bashlor the next inning to account for the winning run.
Jorge Polanco had five hits including a home run for the Minnesota Twins, who beat the Toronto Blue Jays 9-1, sending the Jays to their 5th loss in a row.
To the NBA playoffs and if Kyrie Irving just played his last game for the Boston Celtics, it will not be one he or the team will look back on fondly. The Milwaukee Bucks routed Boston 116-91 to close out their second round series in five games and Irving finished with just 15 points, the enigmatic superstar mostly a non-factor in the series.
He's also a free agent heading into the off-season, and his tenure with the Celtics, which included mercurial highs and frustrating lows, may be over. This was supposed to be the year when he and a recovering from a broken ankle Gordon Hayward took Boston to the next level, but the team never gelled and were ousted by a clearly superior Milwaukee squad that will go on to face either the Toronto Raptors or Philadelphia 76ers in the eastern conference finals.
Out west the Golden State Warriors have taken a three games to two lead over the Houston Rockets after a 104-99 win, despite Golden State losing their best offensive weapon Kevin Durant to a calf injury late in the third quarter. Klay Thompson picked up the slack, scoring 27 points, but Durant will have an MRI later today to see the extent of his injury, and his status moving forward will be critical for the Warrior's success.
In the Stanley Cup playoffs the San Jose Sharks are moving to the western conference finals after winning game seevn 3-2 over the Colorado Avalanche. Captain Joe Pavelski scored a goal and added an assist in his first game back since a horrific injury two weeks ago when he fell and smacked his head on the ice in a round one game against Las Vegas.