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October 29, 2013

3-1 win brings Sox one game from title

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Becoming a World Series star was far from the troubled mind of David Ross last summer.

He had just gotten a tiebreaking, seventh-inning double in Monday night's 3-1 win over St. Louis, giving Boston a 3-2 World Series lead, and the journeyman catcher thought back to May 11.

A dreary Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park had begun with a 51-minute rain delay, and Toronto's Adam Lind hit a tiebreaking home run leading off the ninth inning in what would be a 3-2 Red Sox loss. Three pitches later, Colby Rasmus fouled a 93 mph fastball off the upper part of the catcher's mark, near Ross' forehead.

Ross put a hand on his chest, took 30 seconds to compose himself and crouched down for another delivery. Nine pitches later, Emilio Bonifacio deflected a 94 mph heater smack at Ross' skull, so hard that the mask jarred back. Ross put his right hand on his head and about a minute later was ready for another delivery.

Turns out they were more than just another pair of foul tips.

Ross went on the 7-day concussion disabled list and didn't return until May 25. He fell into a 3-for-22 slide put kept on playing.

On June 14 at Baltimore, Manny Machado fouled Ryan Dempster's fourth pitch of the night, an 87 mph fastball, off the mask again. Ross grimaced, grabbed the front of his headgear, walked out to the mound and got back behind the plate. He finished out the 2-0 defeat. Four days later, he was back on the DL.

"I got home and my wife said, 'You're not right,'" he recalled. "And they did some tests and kind of concluded I wasn't right. Then I tried to come back fast, not giving enough credit to really what a concussion is. As athletes we feel like we can get through anything, and I couldn't. I stunk for a good two weeks, three weeks, and my wife finally was like, 'If you don't tell the doctors, I'm going to.'"

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