Jackie Bradley Jr.'s big night, in GIFs

Jim Rogash

The Red Sox defeated the Rangers in the series opener on Monday, in large part thanks to Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr. is on the Red Sox in Boston instead of the PawSox in Pawtucket thanks to Shane Victorino's stint on the disabled list. Bradley hasn't had many opportunities to play just yet, but on Monday night, he got his chance to shine against the Rangers, helping lead the Sox to their third win of the year.

It all started in the top of the second with a runner on second for the Rangers, in a scoreless game. Bradley ended the inning with some style out in right field.

Jbj-catch-1

It would no longer be a scoreless affair once Bradley took his next turn at-bat in the bottom half of the inning, with Xander Bogaerts at third and A.J. Pierzynski on first:

Jbj-hit-1

Not that it was an elite fastball or anything, but it's good to see Bradley take an inside heater and drill it back up the middle, as that's an area he had serious issues with in 2013 during his brief time in the majors.

Your reminder that Bradley isn't a right fielder, but that his speed and routes can make up for that in an instant. Watch him suddenly turn it up when he realizes the ball is going deeper, and do so without going off track:

Jbj-catch-2

Jbj-catch-2-v2

This catch was made with one out in the top of the third inning with no one on, so it's not as key as the earlier snare, but it did keep the Rangers from putting a runner into scoring position in a 1-0 game.

The rest of Bradley's impressive showing came at the plate. With the score tied 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth, with Pierzynski on third, Bradley went with the pitch, slapping a fastball on the outside part of the plate the other way through the hole on the left side of the infield to drive in another run.

Jbj-hit-2

This is another positive sign, as Bradley also had a problem in 2013 with trying to hit for power and pull things he shouldn't -- going with the pitch allows him to hit it to all fields, as he's more than capable of, and at his best when he's doing so.

This last hit isn't nearly as pretty, but it was just as effective:

Jbj-hit-3

The run scored on the error at first, so no third RBI for Bradley, but it was a hit prior to the problems with the throw, so at least he was able to finish off his second ever three-hit game in the majors with the sacrifice-turned-single.

While Bradley is unlikely to earn himself a permanent big-league job with his performance filling in for Victorino, nights like this are encouraging, as eventually there will be a spot for the center fielder in Boston. In the meantime, it's just good to see that the Sox have depth they can lean on.

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