Four Real? Red Sox vs Arizona 8-2-13

Remember this guy? Cody Ross came back to haunt his former team
on Friday, leading the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 7-6 win over the Sox.

Jan-Christian Sorensen Contributing Writer

We sing the ballad of the One That Got Away.

Welcome to the opening of the three-game set between the Boston Red Sox and the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks, a.k.a. The Cody Ross Revival Extravaganza.

Ross, who played one season in the outfield with Boston before signing a $26-million contract to play in the Grand Canyon State for the next three years, came up big in his return to Beantown on Friday, stroking two doubles, a single and a homer to drive in three runs and lead the Snakes to a 7-6 victory.

He wasn’t alone, though. The D-backs ripped 16 hits off Boston pitching during the game, 11 off starter Jon Lester, who went only 4.1 innings and gave up six runs while striking out the same.

Randall Delgado got the win despite giving up four runs on six hits in six frames, striking out seven and giving up a pair of homers. Brad Ziegler worked the ninth and gave up two hits but still earned the save for Arizona, while Pedro Beato suffered the loss for the Sox, giving up one run on two hits in 1.1 innings of work.

Before the game, Ross reportedly ripped Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington for “lying to his face” in the offseason about the team’s stance on not offering players long-term contracts and then turning around and signing outfielder Shane Victorino and (before injury issues cut the deal to one year with options) first baseman Mike Napoli.

Anybody who watched the way Ross carried himself on and off the field in his brief stint with the Sox knows that he would have fit like a glove with this new cast of characters in the Boston dugout, but hindsight, as they say, is 20-20. Whether it was a prescient move or a misstep by Cherington is still up for debate, but last year Ross hit 22 homers and 81 RBI with a .267 average for the Sox in 130 games. This season Ross is hitting .271 with six homers and 32 RBI.

You be the judge.

Whether you’re the type to lay the blame at the feet of either Cherington or Ross, you might also think about giving a little praise to Ross’s former team, the San Francisco Giants, for doing the Sox a solid and handing the Tampa Bay Rays a 4-1 loss Friday to preserve Boston’s thin, one-game lead in the American League East Division.

Here are the four at-bats that changed the game:

1) Copy, Big Papi: With the Sox down 2-0 early after Lester gave up a two-run longball to Paul Goldschmidt in the first inning, David Ortiz crushed the first pitch he saw from Delgado deep to straightaway center for his 21st homer of the year, driving in Jacoby Ellsbury before he touched the plate to tie the score at two apiece.

2) Ross the Boss: With the score tied 4-4 in the fifth, Ross stepped to the plate and drilled a Lester curveball to center, notching his second double of the game and cashing in Martin Prado to give Arizona a 5-4 edge.

3) Do the Drew: With the Red Sox down two runs in the sixth, shortstop Stephen Drew gave the hometown crowd some hope when he belted a two-run bomb into the bullpen (better known to old-school fans as Williamsburg) on a two-seam fastball from Delgado, driving in Napoli ahead of him to tie the score at 6-6.

4) Friendly Fenway: While he only spent one season at the Fens, Ross sure seemed right at home on Friday. In the seventh inning, he blasted a Beato slider off the lip of the first row of the Green Monster seats for a solo shot, giving Arizona the 7-6 edge they would eventually call the win.

Tomorrow the Red Sox welcome new addition Jake Peavy — acquired in the Jose Iglesias trade earlier this week — to the mound as he toes the rubber against Arizona’s Patrick Corbin, who is 12-2 with a 2.24 ERA this season. So far in 2013 Peavy is 8-4 with a 4.28 ERA.

Twitter: @jan_doh