10/19/10 9:47 PM ET
Ross becoming Bay Area folk hero
By John Schlegel / MLB.com
And it's all because of Cody Ross, who didn't arrive until August but who continues to make October his playground, driving in the Giants' first run in a 3-0 victory over the Phillies that gives San Francisco a decidedly sharp 2-1 edge in the National League Championship Series.
They're loving their lucky No. 13, and the fans are chanting: Co-dy! Co-dy! Co-dy!
It's the kind of treatment Barry Bonds used to receive, and frankly it's the kind of postseason performance that's giving Bonds' amazing run in 2002 some company in Giants lore.
Indeed, his performance in the clutch is making Giants fans scream for the guy unceremoniously picked up off waivers from the Marlins in August, the guy whose childhood aspirations to paint his face as a rodeo clown have become irresistible national media fodder.
Ross, moved up to the No. 5 spot in the order for Game 3, drilled a two-out single to left field in the fourth inning Tuesday to break a scoreless tie with only the Giants' second hit of the day off Phillies lefty Cole Hamels.
"He's our spark plug," said first baseman Aubrey Huff. "It's absolutely unbelievable how many times we're getting no-hit through the first four or five innings, and it seems like he comes up and gets the big hit."
Cody coming up clutch
In seven postseason games, Ross also has four homers to his credit -- including three in the NLCS, joining Babe Ruth (1926 Yankees, World Series), Rusty Staub (1973 Mets, NLCS) and Willie Stargell (1979 Pirates, World Series) as the only players to hit the first three homers of a postseason series for his team.
Including Tuesday's single, his last six postseason hits have either tied the game or given the Giants the lead, and with his fifth go-ahead RBI, he has the most for the Giants in a postseason and the most since Jermaine Dye of the White Sox and Morgan Ensberg of the Astros did it in the 2005 postseason. Overall, Ross raised his postseason average to .348 (8-for-23) with his fourth-inning single.
The latest run-scoring hit came on a 2-and-1 pitch that Ross reached out of the strike zone to hit and somehow pulled the ball down the left-field line.
"I felt like it was exactly where [catcher Carlos Ruiz] put his glove, and that's what I was trying to hit," said Hamels. "And unfortunately, I don't know too many guys that can lift that up over a third baseman. Most guys normally hit it into the ground. You have to tip your hat."
Huff, who batted behind Ross, said it almost looked like Hamels was pitching around Ross, but that's hard to do when he can reach out and get a pitcher's pitch and turn it into a huge hit.
"It was down and away and somehow I hucked it down the line," Ross said. "But that's what happens when you're swinging the bat well or feeling good. Good stuff happens."
Ross, who had been batting in the No. 8 spot throughout the playoffs, was moved to the fifth spot, behind cleanup man Pat Burrell and ahead of Huff. Ross knocked in leadoff man Edgar Renteria, who had singled to start the fourth, and then Burrell came in on Huff's single to right.
For Ross, batting fifth vs. sixth in Game 3 or eighth during the rest of the postseason doesn't matter, just so long as he's hitting.
"Through my whole career, from the Minor Leagues on, I've hit 1 through 8, so it doesn't matter," Ross said. "It only matters the first few innings and it keeps going around and around."
And as long as Ross keeps coming around, the Giants and their chanting fans will be happy with the results, and the opposition will continue to be frustrated with them. Hamels, asked how in the world Ross can be stopped at this point, had a quick -- and lighthearted -- answer: "Hit him?"
Hamels kids, of course, but Ross might not feel anything anyway, the way this postseason and this arrival in San Francisco has turned out.
"It's been awesome," Ross said in another trip to the postgame interview podium. "It's been like nothing that I've ever experienced and the biggest grind is being up here answering questions. But obviously the fun part is going out there and playing.
"It's been an unbelievable ride, and hopefully it will keep going. We've got a lot of business to take care of still."
John Schlegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.