BOSTON — There must be something in the (dirty) water.
Cody Ross marked his return to Boston with a huge performance that helped the Diamondbacks earn a victory in Friday’s series opener. Ross went 4-for-5, and his solo homer in the seventh inning proved to be the difference in Arizona’s 7-6 win.
“He’s a good hitter that took advantage of some pitches in the middle of the plate,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “He’s got a swing that fits this ballpark, as we saw a year ago with the number of home runs he hit here. [He got a] breaking ball in the middle of the plate for one of [his four hits], another breaking ball for the double in the left-center field gap off of Jon [Lester]. He swung the bat very well tonight.”
Ross seems to swing the bat well every time he steps into the box at Fenway Park. The 32-year-old outfielder is a career .302 hitter at the old yard — well above his career .264 mark overall — and he now has 14 home runs and 52 RBIs in 70 career games in front of the Fenway Faithful.
Friday’s game meant a little more to Ross, though, as it was his first time returning to Fenway as a visiting player since signing with the Diamondbacks in the offseason. Ross said during a radio appearance Friday afternoon that the Red Sox lied to his face during contract negotiations following his 2012 season with Boston, and it was clear from the start of Friday’s game that he wanted to send a message to his former club.
“Every game I have a lot of nerves, but this one was a little more, I don’t know, sentimental, I guess,” Ross told reporters after the game. “Obviously, I’ve had this game circled on my calendar for a while now.”
Ross’ game-winning home run came against Pedro Beato, but his other three hits came against Lester, who shared a clubhouse with Ross last season.
“Obviously, he came back with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder,” Lester said. “Ross is a good guy. I wish him the best, obviously, but when he steps into that batter’s box, he’s just another hitter that I’ve got to get out. Obviously, I didn’t do that.”
Lester isn’t the only pitcher to have trouble against Ross in the shadow of the Green Monster. But Ross’ big performances in Boston definitely aren’t as welcomed by the home crowd as they used to be.