"I'm just taking it pitch by pitch and trying to stay on an even keel," said Ross, the MVP of his club's six-game victory over the Phillies in the National League Championship Series, about his once in a lifetime postseason. "I'm trying to not do too much. They're pitching me tough, but I'm just up there battling, trying to square up on the mistakes they're making."
"I just wanted to get on base," Torres, the leadoff hitter, said about his big hit. "I just wanted to have a good at-bat in that spot. I was trying to stay quiet and calm myself. I got a good pitch, and I hit the ball. But the home run really doesn't matter. What matters is we lost the game."
Ross is hitting .318 (14-for-44) with the five homers and 10 RBIs in 13 postseason games. Two of those homers came off Phillies ace Roy Halladay that won Game 1 of the NLCS. Torres, after slumping early in the playoffs, is now hitting .245 (12-for-49) with the homer and a pair of RBIs in 13 games. He hit .350 in the NLCS after a .125 skid in the NL Division Series against Atlanta.
"That was big by both of them [on Saturday] because we weren't doing much offensively," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Those home runs got us back in the game, and that's what you're hoping: keep it close and get a rally going. Ross has done a great job for us, and so has Torres. You're looking for someone to ignite the offense, and they certainly were trying. We just couldn't get runners on before those home runs."
Ross was claimed off waivers from the Marlins and wasn't even a glimmer in San Francisco's plans until September. Torres suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder and didn't flourish as a Major Leaguer until this season at the ripe old age of 32. When Torres began to emerge earlier in the season, he replaced veteran Aaron Rowand in center field save for an emergency appendectomy he endured the last week of August.
Ross hit .288 with three homers and seven RBIs in 33 regular-season games for the Giants and showed no inkling of the hero he'd become in October. He made a change in his hitting approach, striding on his lead (left) foot, and that seems to have made all the difference, Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens said.
"He's getting his foot down on the ground on time and he's seeing the ball good," Meulens said. "It's great to see that he's remained consistent throughout the postseason."
Torres hit .268 in 139 games, his first full season in the Major Leagues. He was in a 2-for-20 playoff slump and whiffed four times in Game 2 of the NLCS when Bochy finally decided to rest him for the next two games. Torres had a pinch-hit single in Game 4 and then went on a tear with six consecutive hits. The slump was over.
Meulens said he worked with Torres to get back on top of the ball, instead of hitting under it. But Torres said the problem was more complex than that.
"I just try to stay quiet," he said. "Sometimes I have a lot of hyperactivity going. When I'm able to stay calm, that's when I have good form. I was going up there jumping on the ball and being too impatient. It's hard sometimes to control myself, especially when you have ADD. That's not an excuse. You have to slow down your game and not move around so much at the plate. People tell me that I'm moving my head and I don't even realize I'm doing it."
Ross, of course, is in that zone where he can do no wrong. It should be noted that the three Giants in the middle of the order -- Aubrey Huff, Buster Posey and Pat Burrell -- have one homer between them in the playoffs and none since Burrell hit a three-run shot in Game 2 of the NLDS.
Ross has supplied the power, which has virtually carried the team. Without him, the Giants would be in some kind of trouble.
"I wouldn't say that," he said. "Without our pitching we'd be in a lot of trouble. We're all up there doing our job and trying to do it the best we can. Some guys are hot. Some guys are struggling. But we're just trying to pick each other up. That's what being a team is all about."