BOSTON — Red Sox catcher David Ross suffered two concussions last season and missed more than two months. So when a couple of pitches whizzed by his head in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles, he understandably was a bit flustered.
Orioles starter Bud Norris threw two high-and-tight pitches as Ross attempted to drop down a sacrifice bunt with the score tied 2-2. Ross wasn’t too happy about the chin music, and the result was a bench-clearing incident he downplayed the significance of after the game.
“Just a couple of balls at my head and just kind of rattled me a little bit,” Ross said. “I probably said some things I shouldn’t have said (to Norris), but it’s all good. Baseball stuff.”
Ross and Norris exchanged words after the inside offerings, prompting Orioles catcher Matt Wieters to intervene and the benches to empty. No punches were thrown, and the incident quickly blew over after a brief congregation near home plate.
“I was telling (Wieters) where I was at and he was telling me where he was at,” Ross said. “I definitely don’t think it was on purpose. (It was) just a natural reaction (after) three balls at my head. I probably shouldn’t have yelled at the pitcher there.”
Ross, in fact, stressed several times after the game that he didn’t think Norris intentionally threw at his head. The 37-year-old instead chalked it up to emotions getting the best of him, particularly given last season’s battle with head injuries.
“I think I’m a little sensitive to balls around my dome after having two concussions last year and missing two months. That may have been part of it,” Ross said. “I think looking back, I’m usually not a guy who does that too often, but balls at my head kind of (startled me) and it was tough to see. It was tough to see late in the ballgame with the shadows, and I think probably all that stuff — trying to get down the bunt and that happening — probably played into it. But again, we’ll turn the page and get after them tomorrow.”
Ross struck out after the teams returned to their respective dugouts. Brock Holt got the best of Norris one pitch later, though, drilling a go-ahead RBI triple into the right-center field gap to help pave the way for a 4-2 Red Sox win.
One could make the case Saturday’s bench-clearing discussion — or whatever you want to label it — helped fuel the Red Sox’s victory. Ross, on the other hand, insisted the incident didn’t play much of a role in the outcome.
“I don’t question anybody’s heart in this clubhouse or who’s got whose back,” Ross said. “That doesn’t show support. It does, but we’ve got a lot of guys in here who care about each other. I don’t think any team that I’ve ever been on would do any different.”
Ross dodged Norris’ pitches, and the Red Sox dodged dropping their second straight to the Orioles at Fenway Park.