Ross' biggest Game 5 moments come in collisions

Ross' biggest Game 5 moments come in collisions
October 18, 2013, 3:30 am
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DETROIT -- David Ross knew he would have his hands full when he was tabbed to catch Game 5 of the American League Championship Series.
      
There was the matter of preparing Jon Lester to face the powerful Detroit Tigers lineup that he had faced five days ago. There was getting ready to face Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez, who had no-hit the Red Sox for six innings last weekend while striking out 12.
      
Still, never could Ross have known that his biggest moment in Game 5 would come on the basepaths.
      
In the second inning, Ross whacked a double to left, scoring Jonny Gomes with the second run of the inning. An infield single by  Jacoby Ellsbury then moved Ross to third.
      
Shane Victorino then hit a ground ball to second baseman Omar Infante. Ross, on third, bolted for home on contact, but Infante's throw to Detroit catcher Alex Avila beat him.
      
Ross's only path was try to steamroll Avila, who was protecting the plate. A jarring collision ensued, with Avila knocked over, somehow maintaining
control of the ball for the second out of the inning.
      
As Ross got to his feet, he tapped Avila with his hand, a fraternal gesture from one catcher to the other.
      
Collisions, of course, aren't new. But this was one was different in that it involved two players playing a highly demanding position, both of whom missed time earlier this season with concussions.
      
"I ran as hard as I could,'' said Ross, "and [Avila] blocked the  plate, same thing I did with [Miguel] Cabrera in the bottom of the first
when Cabrera tried to score from second on a single to left. Right now, you don't want to take anything for granted.
      
"I respect [Avila] a lot and he tried to get me out. He had me out dead to rights and that's part of the game. I told him, 'Hey man, you didn't give me a choice...just going hard.' He understood. We've talked just the other day about our concussions and stuff like that, so I know what
he's been through and I know what he's been through. It was just one of those things.''
      
One concussion early in the season sidelined Ross. Another, weeks later, landed him on the 60-day DL. He spent a chunk of the season home in Florida, recovering from the second.
     
Yet barrelling down the line, knowing a crash was imminent, he conveniently forgot about what he was asking of his body.
     
"You don't really think about that stuff,'' he said. "We had  contact on, I was running hard, I saw Omar throw it and I looked up and I was bearing down on him. He had me and I was just trying to knock the ball loose.''
      
Two innings plated, two bone jarring collisions in the books.
      
"I'm going be sore tomorrow,'' said Ross. "It was a really physical game from early on. They're playing hard and we're playing hard. Good baseball all around.''
      
Avila sustained a strained patellar tendon in his knee because of the collision and was forced from the game two innings later. Ross remained,
steadfast.
      
"Once I step on that field,'' said Ross, "I'm not worried about getting injured. If you play scared or try not to work, you're probably going to get hurt.''
      
Ross dealt with concussion specialist Dr. Mickey Collins in Pittsburgh in the aftermath of his two incidents.
      
"He deals with football [players] a lot,'' said Ross, "and he understands the risk of concussions and he told me once I was back to 100 percent, I was going to be fine as far as going out to play. He didn't put any restrictions on me. That was just in me today -- I saw the plate blocked and that's what I felt I needed to do, to try to make a baseball play.''
      
Without regard to risk, without regard to his own history.