Bradley Jr. shakes off game-ending strikeout

Bradley Jr. shakes off game-ending strikeout
March 31, 2014, 11:45 pm
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BALTIMORE -- For someone who didn't even expect to be in Baltimore and on Red Sox' Opening Day roster until Sunday night, Jackie Bradley Jr. found himself right in the middle of the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Orioles Monday.
Bradley, who was called upon to take the roster spot vacated when outfielder Shane Victorino was placed on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, entered the game in the top of the eighth inning as pinch-runner for Mike Napoli.
At the time, Bradley represented the tying run for the Sox, but a strikeout by Grady Sizemore, a walk to Xander Bogaerts and a groundout by A.J. Pierzynski left Bradley marooned at second as the inning ended.
And, wouldn't you know it, with the Red Sox down to their final out in the ninth inning, Bradley's spot in the order came due against Baltimore closer Tommy Hunter.
The at-bat -- and the game -- ended when Bradley took a called third strike, jumping off the ground to show his disagreement with home plate umpire Dana DeMuth's call.
"I felt great," said Bradley, recounting the sequence. "I saw three different pitches. I felt very comfortable. I didn't think (the final pitch) was a strike; I didn't think the first (called strike) was a strike, either. But that's just the way it goes.''
After falling behind 0-and-2, Bradley fought back to make the count even, at one point just missing on a 99 mph fastball from Hunter, fouling it back.
"After he got down 0-and-2,'' said John Farrell, "he did lay off some borderline pitches and put himself back in a hitter's count. There was a borderline pitch at the top of the strike zone that the umpire rings him up on. Everyone's going to focus on that last out made, but there were a number of opportunities that we did create and didn't cash in.''
As disappointing as the outcome was, Bradley said he had to move on.
"That's what you've got to do," he said. "It's the first game of the season. I felt like I was really battling up there. I felt like I worked hard in the at-bat. I wish I had something to reward me, but that's the way it is. You've got to move on and get ready for tomorrow."