Cody! Cody! Cody! Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
The first came with the Red Sox facing a 1-0 deficit after Daniel Bard, making his last start of the spring, gave up a run on a walk and a double in the first. With Jarrod Saltalamacchia drawing a walk to set him up, Ross came to the plate with one out against Nick Blackburn and sent his homer to an unusual spot: right field.
Ross' rare burst of opposite field power put the Sox up 2-1 before both pitchers settled into a groove for the next few innings. Daniel Bard would retire all but one of the thirteen batters he faced from the second through the fifth innings, seven by way of the strikeout.
Blackburn would exit the game in the sixth, making way for Jeff Gray, who Cody Ross welcomed to the game with his second long ball--this one to the more traditional left field, giving the Sox a 4-1 lead. Daniel Bard would not follow Blackburn's lead, but perhaps should have, faltering late with a pair of walks and fly ball singles to allow two more runs to score, taking what could have been a statement game and reducing it to simply average.
The Sox would continue to pour the runs on against the Twins' bullpen, scoring on some small ball in the seventh, and then putting together two singles and a Mauro Gomez homer for three more in the eighth.
Those runs would end up coming in handy as Matt Albers lost control in the bottom half of the eighth, giving up three walks and letting the Twins cut the lead to 8-5. With the Sox pushing across a ninth run in the ninth, and Mark Melancon avoiding a complete meltdown despite three singles and an error, the Sox left on top.
Note: Jacoby Ellsbury would leave the game partway through after fouling a ball off his knee, but says he's fine.