Longtime pals Ross, Lester keep Cubs alive in World Series
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 31, 2016 01:45 PM
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester, left, and catcher David Ross talk during the sixth inning of Game 1 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Cleveland Indians Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
JAY COHEN, AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago's veteran catcher David Ross, who will retire at the completion of the World Series, played a starring role as the Cubs stayed alive on Sunday by edging Cleveland 3-2.
He had a superb night behind the plate — picking off an attempted steal at a crucial stage — and also with the bat as he delivered a clutch sacrifice fly.
He even got a shout-out from Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, who dedicated his rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" to Ross during the seventh-inning stretch.
"We love you Rossy," Vedder said as the crowd roared. "Let's take this show to Cleveland!"
Ross and his good buddy, pitcher Jon Lester, combined to slow Cleveland's attack. Lester bounced back from a so-so outing in the Series opener, pitching six solid innings to improve to 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA in five postseason starts this year.
It was a familiar performance for Lester, who helped Boston win the World Series in 2007 and 2013. He had been 3-0 in three career World Series starts before dropping Game 1 against Cleveland.
Ross' game included a pair of adventures in foul territory. He had one foul pop go off his glove near the railing of the visitors' dugout, but first baseman Anthony Rizzo was right there to complete a juggling catch. Ross collided with Rizzo on a foul popup in the fourth and held on for the out.
But Ross put together his best work when he stayed behind the plate. He did a solid job of framing close called third strikes to Brandon Guyer in the fifth and Jason Kipnis in the sixth. After Kipnis' strikeout, Ross cut down Francisco Lindor trying to steal second for the final out of the inning.
"I love him like a brother, like a dad, like a mentor," Rizzo said. "I was pretty emotional, seeing him in that at-bat driving in that run, throwing that guy out."
Ross' defensive work was particularly important with Lester having his usual struggles with runners on the basepaths.
The Cubs trailed 1-0 before scoring three times in the fourth. Ross capped the rally with a sac fly with the bases loaded, driving in Ben Zobrist.
Ross, nicknamed "Grandpa Rossy" by his young teammates, was taken out for a pinch hitter in the sixth, and he shared a big hug with Lester in the dugout.
Lester and Ross have been together for years and often hang out together off the field. Lester agreed to a $155 million, six-year deal with the Cubs in December 2014, a key moment in the club's climb to NL powerhouse. Ross then followed Lester to Chicago for a $5 million, two-year contract, and quickly became a mentor for some of the team's emerging players.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap