In the midst of a blowout loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday afternoon, Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted to do something to lighten the mood in the clubhouse.
Trailing 11-4 late in the game, Maddon called on catcher David Ross to pitch the ninth inning.
And Ross, who pitched a perfect eighth inning against the New York Mets on May 9, didn't disappoint the fans still left in attendance at Wrigley Field.
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Topping out at around 70 mph, Ross finished with the best results of any Cubs pitcher that took the mound on Sunday. He retired the Phillies in order for a perfect 1-2-3 inning, getting Cameron Rupp on a flyout to center and both Darin Ruf and Cesar Hernandez on groundouts to shortstop Addison Russell. Ross only needed eight pitches to accomplish the feat.
"My goal is to throw it right down the middle," Ross said. "I know how hard hitting is, obviously, judging by my batting average. I just try to throw it and hope they hit it at somebody.
"It was nice to get in here and you know, the fans chanting my name. That was kind of a cool moment in my career. I had never had that happen before here in the ninth. It was fun, lighthearted and doesn't mean a whole lot to me other than that it was a lot of fun. It helped our bullpen save an inning down there. It put a smile on a couple guys faces, as well as mine."
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After his perfect frame, Maddon sent Ross out to be the first batter of the bottom of the ninth inning. Ross delivered with his first homer as a member of the Cubs on a two-strike slider by Phillies reliever Hector Neris. Ross became the first Cubs reliever to homer since Carlos Marmol did it on Sept. 7, 2006, against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
"It has to be the first time since Babe Ruth that has happened," Maddon said. "Doesn't it? He comes out and pitches. Positional player pitches an inning and then goes and hits a home run. It was great for the fans. The fans really engaged in that."
Anything else Ross would like to do as a member of the Cubs?
"Win a World Series, that's what I'd like to do on this team."