ST. PETERSBURG -- Cody Ross didn't mean to lose the ball amid the white ceiling of Tropicana Field on Wednesday night. And he certainly didn't mean to lose his footing either, turning a shallow flyball into a sacrifice fly that sank his team.
But Ross sure felt bad about it. He felt he cost his team the game.
The beauty of baseball is that the chance at redemption usually comes the next day. And that's why Thursday's 2-for-3, four-RBI performance by Ross was one that he savored.
"I obviously felt really bad about last night," said Ross. "It was just a tough play. To come out today and pick up the team [and] get a victory to split the short series is real big for us."
It was Ross who led the offense on a night the Red Sox edged the Rays, 5-3.
"Cody was big tonight," said manager Bobby Valentine. "He busted the third changeup he saw over the center-field fence and he busted their shift for two RBIs, and it turned out to be the two that we needed. Cody will give you everything he has. It's enough for me -- good player."
The signature highlight Ross provided in this one was a solo shot that cleared the fence in center in the top of the third.
Not to be overlooked was the bases-loaded walk he worked in the first, or the two-run single in the eighth that gave the Red Sox some breathing room.
The insurance hit came against Wade Davis.
"He threw me a curveball first pitch and I swung, so I was just trying to battle," Ross said. "I looked out there and I saw the shift. I was trying to hit a hole, and luckily I hit it right to the shortstop and he wasn't there."