Tyson Ross' surprise blast off Clayton Kershaw gave the Cardinals a quartet of #PitchersWhoRake
The Cardinals fell to the Dodgers, 9-7, on Thursday night, but they did gain one measure of victory in the fifth inning. Clayton Kershaw was rolling along with an 8-1 lead when he faced opposing pitcher Tyson Ross, who was on in relief of Austin Gomber.
No one was expecting much -- Ross had just seven hits on the season and one homer in 216 career plate appearances. Nonetheless, Kershaw's 0-1 offering hung in the middle of the plate, and Ross destroyed it:
The blast came from out of nowhere, but oddly enough, Ross' only other long ball came at Busch Stadium, too. When he was with the Padres, he took Tim Cooney deep on July 2, 2015.
Cardinals pitchers have actually become quite familiar with helping themselves out at the plate in 2018. Miles Mikolas kicked this trend off in style back on April 2, his first game back in the Majors since 2014:
Carlos Martinez joined the fray with his first career homer on May 2:
The pitchers' bats went quiet after that up until Aug. 14. That was when John Gant hit his first homer ... which also happened to be his first career hit:
Mikolas and Gant have homered again since then, but the Cardinals' pitching staff was still waiting for its fourth slugger. Now that Ross is in on the fun, they've become the first team to feature at least four pitchers who went deep since Madison Bumgarner's 2015 Giants. The last time the Cardinals did that, though? You'd have to go all the way back to 1966 -- the days of Bob Gibson.
The team's slugging is a point of pride for Ross. "Hitting is contagious," he said to MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. "The staff swings it well, so as a pitcher when you get a chance to get up there, you just want to do a little bit better than the guy before you."
2017 Silver Slugger Adam Wainwright must be beaming with pride ... and perhaps just a touch of envy.