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A day after he crushed a pair of three-run home run bombs over the Green Monster, Cody Ross delivered one more blast, rallying the Sox to a 3-1 walk off win in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox.
In the four-game series, Ross was 7-14 with three homers and nine runs batted in. He’s established himself as the everyday right fielder for the Sox amidst the injuries to the outfield, and after the last two huge wins he’s become a clear fan favorite. The win was delivered on his mighty swing, but it was the pitching of Clay Buchholz which kept the Sox in the game as they dealt with Jose Quintana.
Buchholz has been exceptional in his most recent outings. On Thursday night, he pitched eight strong innings, allowing a single run on six hits and a walk while striking out six. Despite the performance, the Sox did trail 1-0 after he departed putting him on the hook for the loss.
The reason for that was Quintana matching Buchholz inning for inning. He also pitched eight innings, allowing only five hits and striking out two batters. With the 1-0 lead, the two teams turned the game over to their bullpens in the ninth.
Alfredo Aceves worked a scoreless ninth inning despite putting two runners on. After recording the first two outs, a base hit by Dayan Viciedo and a double to right by Gordon Beckham put runners in scoring position as the White Sox looked to extend the lead. However, Aceves got a big ground out and the Sox had a great chance with the middle of the order due up and the team trailing 1-0.
Chicago brought in lefty reliever Matt Thornton to face Carl Crawford, but the strategy backfired on manager Robin Ventura as Crawford singled to right. In order to attempt to prevent a stolen base, Ventura left Thornton in the game to face Dustin Pedroia, who hit into a fielder’s choice. Adrian Gonzalez then singled to give the Sox runners on first and second with just one out as Ross stepped to the plate.
The White Sox replaced Thornton with right-handed closer Addison Reed, after Ross showed his dangerous power with the two three-run home runs last night off of left-handed pitchers. On a 1-1 count, Ross drove the third pitch from Reed high and deep into the Monster near the foul pole, propelling Boston to an impressive 5-2 record out of the All-Star Break and giving the team the series win.
Kevin Youkilis did not play in the series finale due to slight hamstring tightness, and he could have made a difference both offensively and defensively. It was his replacement, Eduardo Escobar, who grounded out to end the ninth inning threat by Chicago against Aceves. The fielder’s choice in the bottom half which allowed Pedroia to reach was fielded badly by Escobar despite recording the one out; perhaps Youkilis could have turned a double play and changed the series of events in the inning.
The Sox will take any win they can get, but without a doubt this one was huge. The team now carries strong momentum as the schedule continues to challenge Boston, though the last place Toronto Blue Jays come to town next. The Jays are a couple games back of the Sox in the standings, and the series could provide opportunity for Boston to put some distance between the two sides, especially with injuries to both Brett Lawrie and Jose Bautista.
Josh Beckett starts the first game of the series on Friday night.
Tags: Addison Reed, Adrian Gonzalez, Alfredo Aceves, Boston Red Sox, Brett Lawrie, Carl Crawford, Chicago White Sox, Clay Buchholz, Cody Ross, Dayan Viciedo, Dustin Pedroia, Eduardo Escobar, Gordon Beckham, Jose Bautista, Jose Quintana, Josh Beckett, Kevin Youkilis, Matt Thornton, Toronto Blue Jays