Florida’s center fielder went 3-for-5 for the fourth straight game Sunday, homering and driving in five runs as the Marlins avoided a sweep with a 10-5 win that snapped Colorado’s five-game winning streak.
“When you’re hot, you’re hot,” said Ross, who drove in 15 runs in the four-game series.
“I knew he was hot, but I didn’t know he had 15 RBIs,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He swung the bat. He hit well enough to play tomorrow.”
Ross went 12-for-20 with four doubles, two homers and six runs. He came to Colorado with just 32 RBIs and left with 47.
“We didn’t take him lightly,” insisted Rockies manager Clint Hurdle. “We just couldn’t get him out.”
On Sunday, Ross hit the go-ahead two-run single in the sixth to give the Marlins a 5-4 lead, chased Rockies ace Aaron Cook with his 15th homer in the eighth and doubled home another run in the ninth.
“I’m starting to get more comfortable at the plate,” Ross said. “I’m staying on balls. I’m shooting the ball the other way. When they’ve come inside, I’m pulling it.”
Right-hander Chris Volstad tossed two scoreless innings to win his major league debut in relief.
“It was all about timing,” shrugged Volstad, who skipped Triple-A altogether and got to the ballpark about 30 minutes before game time. “I got a few outs by going through their lineup and our lineup scored runs when I was the pitcher of record.”
It was just a taste for the 21-year-old right-hander who was the 16th overall selection in the 2005 draft and who was 4-4 with a 3.36 ERA in 15 starts for Double-A Carolina.
“He will be moving into the rotation,” confirmed Gonzalez, who is sending left-hander Mark Hendrickson, who hasn’t won since May 25 and had another ineffective start Sunday, to the bullpen along with right-hander Ryan Tucker.
Volstad will start Friday night at Dodger Stadium.
Volstad escaped a based-loaded jam in the sixth when Clint Barmes flied out weakly to center, preserving Florida’s 5-4 lead.
“It was good to get him in and get the jitters out,” Gonzalez said.
Colorado had won five straight but got a rare poor performance from Cook, who had his worst outing of the year on the day he made his first All-Star team.
“It’s kind of bittersweet today,” said Cook, who couldn’t keep his pitches down and allowed seven earned runs and 11 hits in 7 1-3 innings. “I wish I could have thrown a little better, but it’s pretty special, the first time I’ve been selected.”
Cook (11-6), who was coming off a 79-pitch shutout of San Diego in his last outing, failed in his quest to become the first Rockies pitcher to win a dozen games before the All-Star break.
“Everything was up, sinker was up, slider was up,” Cook said. “Really, I think I could have lived with the outing if I hadn’t given up the home run to Ross.”
After hitting 10 home runs over the previous two games—the most in franchise history—the Rockies went long just once Sunday, on Brad Hawpe’s 13th homer in the second inning.
The teams combined for 79 runs in the four-game series, including Friday night’s 18-17 slugfest won by the Rockies, who overcame a nine-run deficit in the first game in nearly 30 years in which each team scored at least 17 times.
“How do you play like we do and not win any of the first three games and then face their best pitcher and go out and beat him?” Gonzalez wondered.
“Thank goodness we don’t have to face Colorado again unless we both make the playoffs.”
Ross sure wouldn’t mind another trip to Coors Field.
Hendrickson allowed four earned runs and six hits in four innings. … Volstad took the roster spot of LHP Taylor Tankersley, who was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque. … Holliday has a 10-game hitting streak.