Ross makes history with HRs in first two at-bats
Giants outfielder first to do so in NLCS, joins Gaetti in 1987
PHILADELPHIA -- Manager Bruce Bochy called his band of Giants a group of castoffs and misfits on Saturday night.
"I compare them to the 'Dirty Dozen,'" said Bochy, citing the famous war film produced and released in 1967. "That's the way they play. That's the way they've coalesced into a team that goes out there to win."
The dirtiest of the dozen may be Cody Ross, who the Giants selected off waivers from the Marlins almost two months ago.
"Here's a guy who wanted to be a rodeo clown, and that's a tough job," Bochy added.
On Saturday night in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, the outfielder became the first player in 23 years to hit homers in his first two plate appearances of an LCS as the Giants defeated the Phillies, 4-3, at Citizens Bank Park, giving them a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
The first to do it in an NLCS -- and only the fourth to hit two homers in Game 1 of an NLCS, joining Steve Garvey (1978), Gary Matthews (1984) and Will Clark (1989) -- Ross hit his homers off Phillies ace Roy Halladay with one out and none on in both the third and fifth innings. The pokes ultimately helped send San Francisco out to a 4-1 lead. For Ross, that gave him three homers and a NLDS-winning single against the Braves in four consecutive postseason at-bats.
Cody coming up clutch
His homer on Monday night in Atlanta came with one out in the sixth inning and broke up a no-hitter being tossed at the time by Derek Lowe. His first homer off Halladay broke a spell of 11 1/3 no-hit innings tossed by the right-hander, including only the second no-no in postseason play in Game 1 of Philadelphia's NLDS win over the Reds.Ross was also on the field on May 29, when Halladay threw a perfect game against the Marlins. Talk about success. "This guy, he's obviously one of the best in the game," Ross said about Halladay, who was bested by two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum on Saturday night. "He's got the potential to go out there and do that every night he pitches. But fortunately we got to him a little early, and Timmy threw outstanding and pitched well enough to get the win. It was just a big win for us, coming in here, first game against their horse. Taking the first one, it was a good feeling for us."
Gary Gaetti of the Twins was the only other player to hit homers in his first two playoff plate appearances, and that happened in Game 1 of the ALCS on Oct. 7, 1987, in an 8-5 victory over the Tigers at the Metrodome.
Ross is the first Giants player to have a multi-homer postseason game since Jeff Kent hit two homers on Oct. 24, 2002, in Game 5 of the World Series against the Angels. The Giants won that game in San Francisco, 16-4, but lost the Series in seven games.
|Cody Ross||10/16/2010||Phi.||4-3 W||2|
|Jeff Kent||10/24/2002||Ana.||16-4 W||2|
|Rich Aurilia||10/10/2002||Stl.||4-1 W||2|
|Jeff Kent||10/3/1997||Fla.||6-2 L||2|
|Will Clark||10/4/1989||CHC||11-3 W||2|
|Benny Kauff||10/11/1917||CHW||5-0 W||2|
In addition, Ross was the first No. 8 hitter to hit two homers in a postseason game since Chad Curtis did it for the Yankees against the Braves in Game 3 of the 1999 World Series.It also should be noted in Giants lore that Ross has more postseason homers than Willie Mays and as many as Willie McCovey, who are both in the Hall of Fame. Mays only hit one in 89 postseason at-bats, McCovey had three in 29 postseason at-bats, and Ross has hit three in 17 postseason at-bats. Ross is 6-for-17 with three homers and five RBIs in the first five games of this year's playoffs. Because of Ross' recent success, Bochy has been asked consistently whether he's considering batting the outfielder higher in the order. "He's having success where he's at," Bochy said. "So why mess with it? He's done a great job in that hole. And I don't think I'm going to change it." Ross said he was as good as done for the season when the Giants selected him off waivers from the Marlins. Like Pat Burrell, who was picked up by the Giants on May 29, 10 days after his release by the Rays, the Giants are earning huge dividends from both players. The castoffs. The misfits. "A month and a half ago, two months ago, I was down in South Florida and I thought my season was about to end," Ross said. "I was going to be on the couch watching the playoffs. The next thing I knew, I got the opportunity to come over here. And it's just been a dream come true, to be able to play with guys like Pat and Aubrey [Huff]. All these guys. "They're true professionals. They have one thing in mind, and that's winning. It's been an unbelievable experience for me. I can't really explain it in words, the way it's all gone down. But I'm just cherishing it and trying to enjoy every minute of it."
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.