BOSTON Pedro Ciriaco, Yankee Killer.
Ciriaco cant explain it, but perhaps it defies explanation or analysis. In nine career games against the Yankees, all this season, he is 17-for-35, batting .486, with seven RBI, 11 runs scored, and four stolen bases against the Yankees. Five of his 13 multi-hit games this season have come against the Yankees.
I don't know, he said. I just try and hit the ball and the ball find the hole.
In Tuesdays series-opening win at Fenway Park, Ciriaco went 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored, including the game-winning run. The run gave the Sox just their third walk-off win of the season.
It's a big night for us, for the team, Ciriaco said. We're happy we got the win tonight.
With one out in the ninth, Ciriaco started the game-winning rally with a single to left, taking second on Mike Aviles' single to shortstop. On Jacoby Ellsbury single to right field, Ciriaco raced around third, sliding home with the winning run ahead of the throw from Ichiro Suzuki.
Ill take Ciris speed and the deep right field at Fenway, Ill take Ciris speed any day," Jacoby Ellsbury said. "Hes been playing great for us. Hes been huge all season and there again in the ninth inning getting on. Once he got to second I knew any ball hit in the outfield he was scoring with his speed.
Ciriaco has certainly opened more than a few eyes this season, beginning in spring training. In 56 games with the Sox, he has hit .306, going 11-for-11 in stolen base attempts, with 27 runs scored, a .414 slugging percentage, and .321 on-base percentage, while playing third base, second, shortstop, and all three outfield positions. On Tuesday, at third base, he made a couple of nifty plays to rob the Yankees of hits.
The play he made on the ball down the line I didnt think there was any chance he could make that play and the diving backhanded play and James Loney at first base picking it on the other end, that was a highlight play, said manager Bobby Valentine. Ciriacos played well at third base. For a guy whos never played there before and we didnt know if he could, hes played well. Started double plays and really made that play coming in very well.
Like many of his teammates, Ciriaco had been struggling coming into the game. In eight games in September, he was hitting just .111 going 3-for-27 as his average dropped from .333 to .301.
He was struggling a little bit I heard coming in, said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. But, he hits a ball at his shoe tops to lead off the ninth. I mean he just finds a way against us.