After he hit a pair of three-run homers in Wednesday night's 10-1 rout of the Chicago White Sox, Cody Ross dismissed any notion about duplicating the feat when he was asked about it by WBZ reporter Jon Miller before Thursday night's dramatic 3-1 victory before a Fenway Park crowd of 38,413.
“I thought that was a dumb question, Jonny,’’ Ross said with a chuckle during his postgame news conference. “I guess not.’’
Indeed. Ross was struck by a strong sense of deja vu after he clobbered yet another three-run homer, this one with one out in the bottom of the ninth off righthanded reliever Addison Reed, to help the Red Sox erase a 1-0 deficit and win the game and the four-game series by a 3-1 count before the largest crowd at Fenway this season.
“It’s an incredible feeling,’’ Ross said after he highlighted his 2-for-4 night with the third walk-off homer of his career and 16th homer of the season. “It’s something that you can’t really describe with words. The emotions that are going through your body, you’re just trying to take it all in and trying not to rush it and remember it, because you don’t have very many opportunities to do that.’’
But Ross, it seems, has relished every opportunity he has had to do so. Even thriving in such tense situations that call for a clutch response.
“I want to be the guy up, every time, in that situation,’’ Ross said. “I always have, my whole life, even when I was my [5-year-old] son's age. I just like that pressure and I like just being there, in the moment. I can't really compare it to anything. It's just a great feeling, especially when you come through and you're a hero. There's no better feeling.’’
The WEEI call of play-by-play man Dave O'Brien was broadcast all the way to Ross's home state of New Mexico, where a radio station in Albuquerque became the latest affiliate to the Red Sox Radio Network.
All because of their local hero from Portales, N.M., who gave his fellow New Mexicans a postgame shoutout during an WEEI interview after belting a pair of three-run moon shots Wednesday night.
“It's such a great state, such a small state, there's not too many professional athletes who come out of there,’’ Ross said. “You've got guys like [Brian] Urlacher, and I think Matt Moore's from Albuquerque. But every time I go back to New Mexico, it doesn't matter what city I'm at, people tell me how proud of me they are. It's a good feeling.’’
Ross's heroics of late, however, left Red Sox fans feeling as though they were residents of the State of Euphoria.
His third walk-off homer of his career, was the first since Aug. 2, 2009, vs. the Chicago Cubs when he was with the Marlins. Ross capped the last two games of his series against the White Sox by going 5-for-9 with 3 homers (all three-run jobs), a double, and 9 RBIs.
Ross has now hit 16 homers and recorded 50 RBIs, the second most on the team behind Adrian Gonzalez (55).
No one quite imagined Ross would have this kind of impact when he was signed by general manager Ben Cherington as a free agent Jan. 26.
“I remember the excitement in Ben’s voice when he said, 'We got a player who’s really going to help us,’ ’’ Valentine said. “As an [ESPN] announcer, I did some of Cody’s postseason games in San Francisco. I loved his smile, I loved his game, I loved his energy. What’s there not to love, especially tonight, huh?
“And,’’ the manager interjected, “he’s not getting traded.’’
Not by a long shot.
In other related items:
* Ross’s homer enabled Alfredo Aceves, who threw a scoreless ninth to pick up his first win of the season (1-6) in relief of starter Clay Buchholz. Aceves improved his Major League career record to 25-9. His .735 winning percentage ranks as the third best in modern MLB history among players with at least 30 decisions.
* Although he did not factor in the decision, Buchholz held the White Sox to one run on six hits and one walk over eight innings while striking out six batters in just his second start since coming off the disabled list July 14 (stomach illness). He threw 107 pitches (76) strikes.
* Pedro Ciriaco, who was penciled in as the designated hitter out of the No. 9 hole, went 1 for 4 with a third-inning triple that accounted as Boston's only hit in the first six innings against White Sox lefty Jose Quintana, who threw eight scoreless innings before turning it over to the bullpen in the ninth. Ciriaco, who was making his first Major League start as a DH, became the first Sox DH to hit out of the No. 9 spot in the lineup since Jeff Bailey on Sept. 9, 2008 vs. Tampa Bay. He was the first Sox DH to get a hit out of last spot in the lineup since Creighton Gubanich, who also tripled on June 28, 1999 vs. the White Sox.
* The game marked the return of second baseman Dustin Pedroia from the 15-day disabled list with a strained right thumb.Pedroia went 1 for 4 with a run scored on Ross's 3-run homer.
* Adrian Gonzalez went 2 for 4 and has now reached safely in 23 of his last 24 games, hitting .408 (40-for-98) with 5 doubles, 3 homers, 19 RBIs and 14 runs scored in that stretch.
* David Ortiz spoke to reporters before Thursday night's game. Sporting a black walking boot on his right foot that matched the color of his left street shoe, the Red Sox designated hitter expressed his frustration at having to go on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right Achilles'. “Of course I want to be on the field, like usual,’’ he said. “But those things I can't really control. That's part of it. I'm a little frustrated, I'm not going to lie to you, especially with having some guys coming back and the way things are going.’’
* The Red Sox improved to 48-45 and have won 5 of their last 7 games since the All-Star break.