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By Doug Alden, The Sports Xchange August 3, 2013 12:41 AM
Cody Ross felt better about than the warm reception Boston fans gave him in his return to Fenway Park was how he played against the club that let him go as a free agent.BOSTON -- The only thing
Ross went 4-for-5 with a solo home run that turned out to be the winning hit, leading the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 7-6 victory over the Red Sox on Friday night. Ross played his first game at Fenway since the Red Sox let him go as a free agent after hitting 22 home runs and driving in 81 for Boston. It was one of a few highlights of 2012 and Boston fans acknowledged Ross' efforts in what was otherwise a forgettable year. "I was happy when the announced my name with the way it went down. As bad as we were last year, for the fans to cheer for me was pretty special," said Ross, who drove in three runs. Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run homer for the Diamondbacks, who tagged Boston pitchers for 16 hits. "We hit the ball well. That's the way we should be swinging the bats. It's been a while," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "We came out and swung with some aggression." Randall Delgado (4-3) rode the offensive surge to his fourth straight win and Brad Ziegler picked up his sixth save despite allowing singles to Stephen Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury in the bottom of the ninth. Ziegler made a nice barehanded play on a grounder by Dustin Pedroia and threw to first for the final out. Drew and David Ortiz hit two-run homers for Boston, which remained one game up on Tampa Bay for first place in the American League East after San Francisco's 4-1 win over the Rays on Friday night. The Red Sox were coming off consecutive walk-off wins, including a seven-run rally in the ninth on Thursday to beat Seattle 8-7. "Things started to build -- a little momentum similar to the feeling that we've had the last couple of nights," Boston manager John Farrell said. "But unfortunately it didn't happen here tonight." Ross started in left for Arizona and received mostly cheers in his first at-bat in Boston since he was a member of the Red Sox last year. He was 3-for-3 with two doubles before his solo homer in the seventh off Pedro Beato (1-1) barely cleared the Green Monster in left field. "That was one of those ones that I didn't really know if that was going to go or not," Ross said with a chuckle. Umpires reviewed it briefly before agreeing a fan did not interfere and the run stood. Ross signed with the Diamondbacks as a free agent in December. He said before the game that he felt "jaded" after the Red Sox passed on him before signing free agents Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli. While Ross said he had put it behind him, he played like he still held a bit of a grudge. "There's some feelings there. It definitely feels good to get this first one," Ross said. "I don't feel like I proved a point. "Obviously, it feels good to have success agianst your old team -- or any team that sort of let you go." Delgado started to tire in the sixth. One batter after Jarrod Saltalamacchia came just a yard or two short of a homer to right center, Drew hit one out to almost the same location for a two-run homer that tied it 6-6. It was the fourth earned run off of Delgado, who had not allowed more than three earned runs in his first eight starts. "I've played a lot of games here like this. You can't get discouraged," Gibson said. "He actually hung in there pretty good. He kept grinding away. He gave us the innings that we needed." Drew's homer also saved Boston starter Jon Lester from a possible loss after he allowed a season-high 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings. Arizona scored six off Lester before he left in the top of the fifth after Martin Prado and Ross hit back-to-back RBI doubles as the Diamondbacks scored three times for a 6-4 lead. NOTES: Trade-deadline acquisition Jake Peavy (8-4 with the Chicago White Sox) is scheduled to make his debut for Boston on Saturday against Arizona's Patrick Corbin (12-2). ... Ellsbury's leadoff triple in the first raised his average in interleague play to .500 (20-for-40). Ellsbury has hit safely in all 10 of Boston's interleague games this season. ... Ortiz was in a 3-for-14 slump before driving the first pitch he saw out of the park. ... The Diamondbacks opened the three-game series with a 4-5 record in interleague games this season.