BOSTON -- Cody Ross wasnt even sure of the last time he had a sacrifice bunt. It could have been earlier this year, Ross said after Sundays game against the Orioles at Fenway Park, but he wasnt sure.
Actually, it was June 19 against the Marlins. That increased the bunt total in his nine-season career to three. So, to see him attempt it in the eighth inning of a tie game with no outs and the potential go-ahead run on second base in the person of Dustin Pedroia, who had just doubled off Luis Ayala, may have looked a little odd. It was more than a deke, though.
It wasnt something that was asked of me, Ross said. I just kind of did it on my own.
I tried to get him over with a bunt, just for the simple fact that it was tough to see throughout the whole game. I was just hoping I could get a ball down and then have, I guess, James Loney behind me or whoever try to drive Pedey in.
Instead, Ross missed on his first attempt, a first-pitch fastball. On the second pitch, another fastball, he reverted to his forte using his made-for-Fenway swing to drive a double off the wall, driving in Pedroia with what would be the eventual winning run, extending Ross team-high RBI total to 77 (among active players, Adrian Gonzalez had 86 with the Sox), giving the Sox a 2-1 lead.
I just decided to attempt to stay inside one and get him over that way, and the pitch just kept kind of running in on me, he said. I just tried to stay inside it and luckily I kept it fair.
But it wasnt just the eighth inning. Ross left his imprint on the game from the very beginning. He went 2-for-4 with a run scored, an RBI, and a home run-saving catch in right field.
Ross scored the Sox first run, after he led leading off the fourth with a single. He went to second when Loney walked, and took third on Danny Valencias fielders choice, alertly going home on Robert Andinos throwing error.
In the first inning, he made a nifty catch behind the Pesky Pole to rob Adam Jones of a home run, slamming into the wall in the process.
Adam put a really good swing on a ball that was away and I was just tracking it and thinking that it was probably going to be foul, Ross said. And just ran over and didnt really know where I was, actually. I thought the ball was in front of the pole after I caught it and I ran in and someone said, You just robbed a home run. I was like, I did? Oh cool. Banged my knee up a little bit and my forearms a little sore. But gratifying to catch it and help Felix Doubront have that scoreless inning. And he went after that to pitch well and 11 strikeouts and got some key groundballs, and just looked outstanding pounding the strike zone. Great game.
Asked if he prefers home run-robbing catches or game-winning hits, Ross replied:
Theyre both equally as great. You dont necessarily think that a play in the first inning is going to be a game-saving catch. But then it ended up to be a big play. But when you do something later on in the innings, in the seventh, eighth, ninth innings, thats definitely more gratifying.
For now, his fourth career sacrifice bunt will have to wait.
Its a lot tougher than it looks, Ross said, with a smile.