Sox ruin Ciriaco's Fenway moment

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Sox ruin Ciriaco's Fenway moment

BOSTON Not even the heroic, clutch-hitting power of feel-good story Pedro Ciriaco could help the Red Sox out this time around.

Ciriaco came up to the plate as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the eighth inning in a tied 2-2 game and slashed his first Major League home run into the front row of the Green Monster seats. The solo blast gave the Red Sox a lead after the Boston bullpen had conspired to give back a slim one-run lead, and Boston tacked on an insurance run that appeared to give them all they would need.

It appeared that Ciriaco once again was the late innings knight in shining armor for a Sox team looking for a hero, and showed that at least one member of the 25-man roster had some of that old Fenway magic coursing through their veins.

After all this was a minor league free agent that had been stuck in Triple-A with the Arizona and Pittsburgh organizations before signing with the Sox, and has flourished since arriving in Boston. Hes a player that has stepped up when Dustin Pedroia and Mike Aviles have both missed time with injuries, and became the first player since Wally Joyner to knock in game-winning runs against the New York Yankees on successive nights.

Ciriaco has 11 RBI this season for the Sox, and four out of the 11 have given Boston the lead in absolute statistical proof of his clutchness. But this Red Sox team is so moribund that they can wipe away even the widest smile spurred on by a rags-to-riches baseball story like Ciriaco.

Were very mediocre. Were not playing good baseball. We have the talent to do it and were just not getting it done, said Sox infielder Nick Punto. We need to get on this run and the clock is ticking. We need to start playing good baseball.

Bobby Valentine, Ciriaco and the rest of the Sox players had wide smiles and songs in their hearts after the Dominican infielders derring-do in the eighth. But they probably knew better, and of course it was their fate to once again get their teeth kicked in one last time.

We had a two-run lead. Guy coming up cold and hitting a home run and then Cody Ross knocking a guy in after a walk and a stolen base, said Valentine. Those were just good baseball plays.

Sunday is a nice day game and were going to bounce backunless theyre going to call off the season. If they let us play then well be ready to go tomorrow.

Alfredo Aceves melted down in the top in the top of the ninth culminating in a three-run Joe Mauer mashed homer that relegated the Red Sox to Mudville, and a moment to remember forever for Ciriaco was sullied in defeat.

It was a good feeling. He gave me a good pitch to hit and I put a good swing on it. But the only thing that matters is winning the game. We didnt win tonight, said Ciriaco. We just have to move on and look forward for tomorrow.

Its a tough loss. Its hard. Today is over. Tomorrow is a new day and we have to move forward, have fun, play hard and keep going just like we did today.

Ciriaco will wake up on Sunday morning and hell still be hitting .338 on the season. The 26-year-old will still be the best story on a Sox team thats on the road to nowhere, and his first career major league homer will have gone for naught when it should have gone into the scrapbook of great Fenway moments.

In the end it will go down as one more thing to dislike about this unlovable bunch of baseball misfits that have taken residence along Yawkey.

Except for Ciriaco, of course, he might just be a keeper.

Quotes, notes and stars: Ziegler stumbles in Red Sox' 4-3 loss

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Quotes, notes and stars: Ziegler stumbles in Red Sox' 4-3 loss

BOSTON -- Quotes, Notes and Stars from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Tigers on Wednesday.

QUOTES

"For maybe the first time when he hasn't put the ball on the ground consistently, that's the one spot that shows up here today.''
-- John Farrell on Brad Ziegler, who gave up the game-winning homer to Miguel Cabrera in the ninth inning.

"Unfortunately, we're one-swing-of-the-bat difference here today.''
-- Farrell

"It wasn't a horrible pitch; it just wasn't a great one either.''
-- Zieger on the pitch to Cabrera.

"Shoot, I've got to be honest. I haven't even looked at the schedule. I know there's 162 [games] on there. That's about all I know.''
-- Dustin Pedroia, when asked about the team's upcoming string of road games.

NOTES

-- The Red Sox dropped to 11-14 against teams from the American League Central.

-- The series sweep was the first of the season suffered by the Red Sox. Every other MLB team had already been swept more than once.

-- Pedroia has reached base safely in 30 straight games. It's the second-longest streak of his career.

-- Xander Bogaerts hit safely in every game on the homestand, batting .447 in that span.

-- Seven of Sandy Leon's 10 doubles this season have come in day games.

-- Aaron Hill collected his first extra-base hit (double) as a member of the Red Sox.

-- Victor Martinez reached base in all five plate appearances, becoming the first Tiger to do so at Fenway since Pudge Rodriguez in 2008.

-- The Tigers are 7-2 in their last nine Fenway games.

-- Opposing hitters had been just 1-for-22 against Brad Ziegler as a member of the Red Sox before Cabrera's homer.

STARS
 

1) Miguel Cabrera -- He was 3-for-4 with an intentional walk, including the game-winning homer in the top of the ninth.

2) Victor Martinez -- He remains one of the game's best pure hitters, which he demonstrated with four hits and two RBI.

3) Michael Fulmer -- He continued his Rookie of the Year case with 7 2/3 strong innings, allowing three runs on seven hits.

First impressions: Detroit Tigers 4, Boston Red Sox 3

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First impressions: Detroit Tigers 4, Boston Red Sox 3

BOSTON -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Detroit on Wednesday afternoon:

1) Eduardo Rodriguez pitched pretty well, but not well -- or deep -- enough.

Rodriguez has now made three starts since coming back from Pawtucket and any one of them was better than his starts from earlier this year.

He's no longer tipping his pitches, he's commanding better in general and his fastball has been more powerful.

But he's also giving up a lot of hits (19 in 18 innings) and he's gotten through the sixth inning just once in his three outings. For a team short in its bullpen, that's leaving a big workload for the relievers.

2) The late-inning comebacks have been in short supply.

Yes,  the Red Sox have scored runs by the boatload at times. And yes, they've mostly played hard this season.

But before Wednesday, the Sox had been just 3-35 when trailing after seven innings and they had enjoyed only two walkoff wins all season.

Those numbers can be misleading, of course. Teams can dig out from early holes -- as the Red Sox did Tuesday night.

But the ninth-inning rallies haven't happened much. In fact, on the current home stand, the Sox have had the top-to-middle part of the order up in the bottom of the ninth -- with David Ortiz getting an at-bat each time -- on four separate occasions, trailing by a run or two, and couldn't produce a winning rally.

3) Clay Buchholz may be pitching himself out of the doghouse

After going weeks -- literally --between appearances, Buchholz has been called upon four times in the last seven games.

Granted, in most of those games, the Red Sox have been trailing. But the games were such that they were still within reach, contradicting John Farrell's remarks late last week when he broadly hinted that he didn't trust Buchholz in games that were close.

Slowly, however, Buchholz could be earning some trust coming out of the bullpen. He had a perfect inning Wednesday with the Sox trailing by a run at the time.

Wednesday's Red Sox-Tigers lineup: E-Rod aims to avoid sweep

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Wednesday's Red Sox-Tigers lineup: E-Rod aims to avoid sweep

BOSTON -- The Red Sox send Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound as they attempt to salvage the final game of their homestand and avoid a sweep at the hands of the Tigers.

Today's lineups:

TIGERS:
Ian Kinsler 2B
Jose Iglesias SS
Miguel Cabrera 1B
Victor Martinez DH
Nick Castellanos 3B
Justin Upton LF
Mike Aviles RF
James McCann C
Tyler Collins CF
---
Michael Fullmer P

RED SOX:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Aaron Hill 3B
Travis Shaw 1B
Sandy Leon C
Brock Holt LF
---
Eduardo Rodriguez P