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Friday, April 18, 2014
For Ross, some heart-pounding action

By Gordon Edes

CHICAGO -- A night after winning in about as ugly a fashion imaginable, struggling to outlast the White Sox in 14 innings despite being on the receiving end of 15 walks and two hit batsmen, the Red Sox ended their two-city trip to New York and Chicago in sublime fashion.

Jon Lester took a perfect game into the sixth inning in a dominating eight-inning performance in which he struck out nine and did not walk a batter. Xander Bogaerts hit a tape-measure home run, his first of the season. Mike Carp delivered a pinch single, his first pinch hit in five attempts this season, in Boston’s decisive two-run, ninth-inning rally. David Ross broke a 1-all tie with an opposite-field, ground-ball double, and Jonathan Herrera perfectly executed a bases-loaded, safety squeeze for the team’s final run.

Besides outstanding pitching on both sides -- Chicago left-hander Chris Sale allowed only one hit, Bogaerts’ home run, and struck out 10 -- there was superb defense. White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton took a home run away from David Ortiz with a leaping catch in the first inning, a strong relay from Dustin Pedroia cut down the lumbering Adam Dunn at the plate, and Ross made a hustling catch of a pop fly by Paul Konerko at the dugout railing in the fifth.

“Pitching, defense, timely hitting, tough at-bats, timely walks, big home run, everyone had to scratch and claw,’’ Ross said. “A good team win. And Jonathan’s safety squeeze was humongous.’’

Eaton’s catch, Ross said, was “one of the best I’ve seen, live.’’ He was a tad more modest describing his catch of Konerko’s popup, which retired a White Sox slugger who has had considerable success against Lester while the lefty’s perfect game was still intact.

“I would have given it a 7,’’ he said when asked how the gymnastic judges would have scored it. “For me, at my age [37], I give it a 10. In that situation, every out is so big, both pitchers with no-hitters, my heart was thumping.’’

That heart was pounding again when Ross, who sustained two concussions last season that sidelined him for months, saw the jumbo-sized Dunn bearing down on him from third base while trying to score on Fernando De Aza's double in the seventh.

“I’ve played with Dunn, I know he doesn’t slide,’’ Ross said. “I tagged him. I said, ‘Thanks for [not] running me over.’ He said, ‘I can’t do that anymore,’ so we were laughing about that.

“But it was scary, to be on your blind side and have that big tank coming down the line. Great throw by Pedey.’’