Iglesias, Ciriaco provide surprising spark

Iglesias, Ciriaco provide surprising spark
May 25, 2013, 8:00 pm
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BOSTON – Typically, the eighth and ninth batters in any lineup are there for a reason. It’s usually the softer part of a lineup that isn’t expected to do the kind of damage the big bats in the middle of the order can do, or the table setters at the top are expected.
 
But on Saturday afternoon, Jose Iglesias and Pedro Ciriaco turned those tables. The Nos. 8 and 9 hitters, respectively, went a combined 6-for-8 with two doubles, an RBI, and three runs scored. The rest of the Sox lineup went a combined 5-for-26, batting .192 in the game.
 
“[I] can’t say enough about the day both [Ciriaco] and Iggy had in the 8-9 holes,” said manager John Farrell. “They had some huge contributions today offensively, and then we started to just chip away.”
 
Ciriaco, who had a one-out double in the eighth, scored on Mike Carp’s pinch-hit double to tie the game, on the way to a Red Sox 7-4 win over the Indians.
 
The last time the Sox had at least three hits each from the bottom two in their lineup was July 7, 2012, in the second game of a doubleheader against the Yankees, when Mauro Gomez had three hits and Ciriaco had four.
 
Iglesias went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. For Iglesias, it was his second three-hit game of the season, along with Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. In eight games this season, he has six infield hits.
 
Ciriaco went 3-for-4 with a double, a run scored, and an RBI. His second-inning RBI single snapped an 0-for-12 skid. The three hits were the most he’s hit in a game since Aug. 26, 2012, against the Royals.
 
Ciriaco (who also committed his seventh error, leading to a run) raised his average from .175 to .227 in the game.
 
“I’ve been working very hard in the cage and the field, trying to get better,” Ciriaco said.
 
“It was big. That’s what we’re here for. Win games…..everyone in the team ….to win the game. We pitched pretty good, we played good defense.”
 
“[Iglesias is] a pretty good player. He’s fast, and me too, and we can do things together.
 
“We win the game tonight and that’s the only thing that matters.”
 
Iglesias is now hitting .481, going 13-for-27 with a .593 slugging percentage and .500 on-base percentage in eight major league games over two stints this season. In 33  games with Triple-A Pawtucket, he was hitting just .202 with a .319 SLG and .262 OBP.
 
“I was just talking to some people in the front office and it’s clear he’s extremely confident and he believes in himself,” Farrell said. “You see it in his actions, the way he carries himself, and it’s not in a disrespectful way. He’s very sure of himself. We saw it as spring training unfolded. It was reinforced in the time before Stephen [Drew] joined us and he comes back to us again. And he’s a strong believer in himself and his abilities to succeed at this level.”
 
Earlier this month he was benched for several games for what Pawtucket manager Gary DiSarcina perceived as an attitude issue. Iglesias said it was a good thing. There’s a little something extra at the big league level. But…

“It’s not just that,” Iglesias said. “As everybody knows, you got the motivation here to win the game. We got a reason to play 100 percent – for the fans, for you guys, for the team, for the organization. [In the minors] it’s kind of difficult. You still want to win. You still try to do your best. But you go to the field, and you see three people in the stands and cold weather. It’s the kind of stuff you got to push yourself a little harder. But it’s baseball game so it’s fun to be here.”
 
And if he continues to play like that, it will be difficult for the Sox to send him back again.