Ross gets his payback against Halladay

Cody Ross was one of those helpless Florida Marlins flailing
away at Roy Halladay’s pitches on the memorable night of May 29 in
Miami. He was there watching as the
Phillies jubilantly gathered on the
pitcher’s mound to celebrate Halladay’s perfect game.

Ross did his part in that bit of baseball history by going
0-for-3 while batting sixth.

Of course, few would have remembered it unless Ross himself
brought attention to it, which he did without saying a word
Saturday in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series at
Citizens Bank Park.

Ross got his payback.

For the chance to do so, he had to move to the other side of the
country, and he had to change into a Giants uniform, but he got it
by hitting two home runs off Halladay, puncturing an air of
invincibility around the
Phillies righthander, who threw a
no-hitter against Cincinnati in the NLDS opener.

Both of Ross’s homers came with the bases empty, but they both
sent significant messages in the Giants’ 4-3 win. The first, which
came with one out in the third inning, showed his teammates
Halladay was at least hittable. Up to that point, Halladay had
retired the first seven Giants and had gone 112/3 innings in the
post-season without allowing a hit.

“It certainly gave us a sense of confidence in the dugout,
putting us on the board like that,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy
said. “You’re facing one of the best in the game and when somebody
hits a home run like that, it settles them down.”

Ross’s second homer, which came two innings later, gave the
Giants a 2-1 lead, and was a response to the homer Carlos Ruiz had
hit off Tim Lincecum that tied the game in the bottom of the
third.

When asked if he saw anything from Halladay during the perfect
game that prompted him to adjust, Ross shrugged.

“This guy [Halladay], he’s obviously one of the best in the
game,” he said. “He’s got the potential to go out and do that every
time he pitches. In the past, I’ve tried everything, waiting him
out, being aggressive. Luckily, I got some good wood on it and got
it up in the air.”

In a way, Ross represents what the Giants are all about. It’s a
team patched together with several parts that didn’t fit elsewhere,
straining to prop up a superb pitching staff, and Ross is one of
the more unlikely parts.

On Aug. 21, the Marlins placed him on waivers and he was awarded
to the Giants, a move many suspect the Giants made to prevent him
from going to West Division rival San Diego, who the Giants were
trying to catch at the time.

When Ross reported to the Giants, he was on his fifth team in
eight seasons, the definition of a journeyman. He quickly endeared
himself to his new teammates with his hustle and
professionalism.

He became even more popular during the NLDS against Atlanta. He
homered to tie Game 4 and drove in the winning run in two of the
three wins.

“Cody forced his way into the lineup,” Bochy said. “He’s a nice
player.”

Ross has had his moments. In 2006, he had two games in which he
drove home seven runs. In one of them, he ripped three homers. In
those two games combined, he had more homers and RBIs than he did
in any other month that season.

But now, Cody Ross can tell his grandchildren about the year
2010, when he was on the wrong side of Roy Halladay’s perfect game
in May, but on the winning side against Halladay in October, when
the stakes were higher.

Contact staff writer Ray Parrillo at 215-854-2743 or
rparrillo@phillynews.com