But Ross' single to shallow left was just out of the reach of Royals left fielder Alex Gordon and shortstop Alcides Escobar, giving the Cubs a 2-1 walk-off win in 11 innings.
"I knew they were going to walk Starlin when I got up there," Ross said. "I was batting .160? I'd do the same thing. I'm playing the game out in my head, and I knew it was coming the first time, but luckily I drove that ball right in the gap in the end."
In the ninth, Ross attempted to bunt in the winning run, but reliever Wade Davis fielded it and fired to first for the second out. Manager Joe Maddon challenged the play, but a review confirmed the out. Davis then struck out Jorge Soler with runners on second and third to force extra frames.
With the wind blowing in from center field on a cold day, several balls struggled to get deep, but Ross' swing kept the ball up high enough to save the day.
"He crushed it," said first baseman Anthony Rizzo with a smile.
Ross has been used mainly as the catcher for starter Jon Lester this season, and struggled to see time when Chicago kept three catchers on its roster. But when Maddon pulled starter Miguel Montero in the sixth inning, Ross wasn't fazed.
"He's a pro, he's an absolute pro," Maddon said. "He works good at-bats, even though the numbers aren't there. He can do things in moments, and obviously that was a big moment for us."