If he was a prize fighter, Boston fans would call him Wrecking Ball Ross. If you are the Chicago White Sox, after the last two-night house of horrors at Fenway Park they’d simply have to call him their Daddy.
Cody Ross‘s total ownership of the ChiSox continued last night as a dominant pitching performance by Jose Quintana was ruined in the 11th hour when Ross lofted a towering fly ball into the Monster seats near the foul pole, knocking in Boston’s only runs of the night and burying the White Sox again 3-1. Ross’s walk-off heroics topped off a two-game, three homer, 11 RBI trashing of the White Sox in just the last two games.
The White Sox came into the four-game set riding high, sporting an AL Central division lead and three games up on the Tigers. After getting outscored 23-10 and losing three of four to Boston, the pale hose crew were only too happy to slink out of town with a 1.5 game division lead and look for greener pastures. Good luck. Next up on the schedule for White Sox are, you guessed it, the Tigers in Detroit.
By the middle innings of Boston’s finale against Chicago, it was apparent that Clay Buchholz and Quintana were locked in a classic pitcher’s duel. Buccholz blinked just once in six innings when he walked Adam Dunn in the fourth, gave up a single to Paul Konerko to put runners on the corners and surrendered a sacrifice fly to Alex Rios that plated Dunn. He needed to be that good just to keep up with Quintana.
Quintana (6-0, 2.30 ERA), allowed just five hits and no runs through eight innings, setting down the Sox in order five times. Buchholz went eight complete innings, scattering six hits and one run.
Carl Crawford set the table for the Ross heroics by leading off the ninth with a single. Dustin Pedroia grounded to third to force out Crawford at second. Adrian Gonzalez kept is the rally going with a sharp single to right field. Gonzo was replaced by pinch runner Nick Punto but Boston wouldn’t need need his speed.
Ross, who has consistently displayed a flair for the dramatic in a Red Sox uniform, popped home run number 16 high and deep into the night. As expected, the ancient ballpark and their fans erupted, rocked and rolled. Ross slammed his helmet after rounding third base as a Gatorade cooler of pale blue showered the mosh pit at home plate and Ross was lovingly beaten and shoved senseless by his teammates.
Boston has won 5 of 7 since the All-Star break, is three games over .500, tied with Tampa Bay in the AL East and 1 game out in the Wild Card race.
Thursday marked Dustin Pedroia‘s return to the lineup after a 10-day stint on the DL with a bum thumb. Pedey went 1-4 and scored a run. Now if Boston can just get Papi back and everyone else stays healthy.
In the meantime. The Sox made the right move with David Ortiz on the DL and Dustin Pedroia back in the lineup. Pedro Ciriaco certainly won’t have the Papi Pop but his decent stick and great speed makes him a very different sort of DH. In addition, Boston gets infield flexibility and possible day’s rest situations for Mike Aviles or Pedroia. Last night, although he was stranded there when Jacoby Ellsbury struck out to end the third inning, Ciriaco smoked triple that got by Alejandro De Aza and put him in a prime position to score.
Kevin Youkilis sat out last night’s finale in Boston with a tight hamstring.
You go back Jack do it again
Wheel turnin’ ’round and ’round
You go back Jack do it again
- Do It Again, Steely Dan