By no stretch was David Ross aiming for the parking lots.
The .120 batting average he was dragging with him through the first month of the season wouldn’t let him think that way.
“The way I’ve been swinging, I’m just aiming to try to see the ball and get a hit,” Ross said.
It irked him so much that he went to the ballpark early Friday, well before the start of the Red Sox’ 7-3 win over the Houston Astros, tinkering with things until he found a solution.
“I was here early in the day just trying to figure some things out and just constantly working,” he said.
He noticed that over his first 25 at-bats, everything was moving so fast that it felt like “I was kind of seeing it and swinging at the same time, which is not a good mix.”
So he decided to slow down and start the swing earlier.
The result was the first four-hit game of his career, and his first two-home run game since 2011.
His second-inning solo shot came on a 1-and-2 pitch that he sent screaming over the Green Monster on the way to the parking lot across Lansdowne Street.
The second blast, which came right after a Will Middlebrooks solo shot in the fourth, went a couple of rows deep into the Monster seats. It was the third time this season the Sox have gone back-to-back.
He has seven hits this season, three of them are homers.
“If they’re going to come, there might as well be an RBI with it,” the catcher said.
With two homers and two singles, he set a career high for hits and total bases. Friday night’s power surge, which doubled his batting average to .241, was gratifying considering the thought and work he put in to make it happen.
“It’s a constant battle for me, getting into rhythm and it’s nice to have a good game,” Ross said. “[The pregame work] seemed to really just slow me down and let me see the ball. That was the key. I don’t know if I’m just a little amped up here early on or what, but I hadn’t found my rhythm until tonight.”
He helped fuel a Sox offense that put up 17 hits.
“It seems like with this team it’s been somebody else every night,” he said. “I’m excited to be a part of this team and a lot of these guys help each other out. A lot of these guys help me out and it’s nice to be able to contribute.”
After 12 years in the majors, Ross said he approaches hitting differently than he used to.
“I’ve learned to get a better plan,” Ross said. “When you’re young, you’re just like see ball, hit ball, and you just swing at everything. The older I get, the more I’ve learned to have a plan.”
But in his first eight games, when he went 3 for 25 and struck out 11 times, he said he was guilty of overthinking. Red Sox slugger David Ortiz told him there’s nothing wrong with thinking like he did in his younger days.
“He said, ‘Hey, man, just see ball, hit ball. Don’t make it too complicated,’ ” Ross said.
Manager John Farrell said he tries to match Ross up against lefties, because he’s such a good fastball hitter. Being as selective and patient as possible, he waited until Astros starter Erik Bedard fed him fastballs and punished them.
“He was able to get himself into some good counts, pick out a fastball, and he didn’t miss it,” Farrell said.
It was the 11th multi-homer game of Ross’s career, and the first time a Sox catcher went deep twice in a game since Victor Martinez in 2010.
“He can swing the bat,” Farrell said. “He’s obviously got some power in the bat and when he’s able to get into those counts and sit on the fastball, he’s capable of the damage we’ve seen.”Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.