Ciriaco, Beato two unlikely August contributors for Red Sox

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Ciriaco, Beato two unlikely August contributors for Red Sox

BOSTON -- Not many would have assumed -- in the spring -- that Pedro Ciriaco and Pedro Beato would be leading the way for the Red Sox in a late-August game at Fenway Park.

But here they were, helping the Red Sox to an 8-6 win over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday at Fenway Park.

Ciriaco finished 3-for-5 with a home run, two RBI, and two runs scored, while Beato picked up his first win in his Red Sox debut.

Offensively, Ciriaco's seventh-inning RBI single put the Red Sox up 7-4, and eventually became the game-winner, as the Royals were able to get two more runs in the top of the eighth off lefty reliever Craig Breslow.

Those two runs, however, went against Beato, as he loaded the bases with two singles and a walk, without recording an out. An RBI sacrifice fly and then an RBI single off Breslow cut Boston's lead to 7-6, but Breslow was able to get out of the inning, helping to secure Beato's first win of the season, in his Red Sox debut.

"He got the whole team out of a big jam," said Beato after the game. "He minimized the damage, and that's what he was out there for."

Beato allowed only one hit and struck out two batters in his first two innings, after coming in to relieve Felix Doubront in a 4-4 game to begin the sixth inning.

"Pedro Beato, I had never seen him before," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine after the game. "He did just a fabulous job in two innings and shutting them down."

"Everything was going," said Beato. "I mean, I was throwing the ball down in the zone and just throwing strikes. Keeping hitters off balance and put the ball on the ground. That's the best thing I can do. Even that last inning, I got two ground balls. But unfortunately, they just found a hole."

When Breslow minimized that damage by allowing only two of those runs to score in the eighth, the only thing keeping Beato's win in place was Ciriaco's RBI single in the bottom of the seventh.

It was strictly a sign of Ciriaco's speed, as he ran out a grounder to third with bases loaded and two outs, beating the throw.

"He's been great," said Pedroia. "I mean, geez, he's put the ball on the barrel. He runs the bases well. He plays great defense. He's been awesome. He's learning too, he's still young. He's playing the game right. It's fun."

Ciriaco's other RBI came in the bottom of the fifth, as he ripped a solo home run off the AAA sign over the monster seats, which cut Kansas City's lead to 4-3 at the time.

"He gave me a good pitch to hit, and I hit it well," said Ciriaco after the game.

To calculate just how clutch Ciriaco has been this season, you don't have to ask Beato. All you need to do is see that seven of his 16 RBI this season have come in the seventh inning or later. And since joining the team in July, Ciriaco has eight games with three or more hits, which is tied for second most on the Red Sox.

Needless to say, he's trying to be here for more than just this second half of the season.

"Every time I get up to the plate, I just want to have fun," said Ciriaco after Sunday's win. "I'm just trying to survive, and stay here. I don't want to be like jumping around. I just want to be part of the team here.

"I'm really happy to be here, and the opportunity that Valentine gave me to play, that's good for me. It's fun."

Boston pitchers strike out 14, but Red Sox still fall to Rays, 7-3

Boston pitchers strike out 14, but Red Sox still fall to Rays, 7-3

The appearance of Tampa Bay Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough almost got the Boston Red Sox back in their spring training exhibition game. The Sox managed to score all three of their runs against the 25-year-old in their 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida on Sunday.

But the Rays, who scored runs in five different innings, managed to widen their lead in the eighth inning by beating up on Sox lefty Luis Isla, a 24-year-old who spent last season with Portland and Pawtucket. In the eighth, Rays' Joe McCarthy homered and Luke Maile managed an RBI single, which cappped off the scoring in the contest. Sox starter Hector Velazquez allowed three hits and an earned run in his two innnings. The 28-year-old, who spent 2016 in the Mexican League, still managed to amass four strikeouts.

"I was a little nervous at the start, being in the United States for the first time and playing for a big league club for the first time," Velazquez told RedSox.com through an interpreter. "But once I got the first out, all the nerves went away, and I was able to bear down."

Despite allowing two homers, Boston pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.

With the exception of the Sox' inning against Yarbrough, Boston's veterans and prospects struggled mighltily against the Rays pitching staff. Chris Archer started for Tampa, and set the tone in the first two innings, where he threw two strikeouts, one walk and allowed one hit and no runs. Andrew Benintendi (0-for-3), Sam Travis (0-for-2) and Bryce Brentz (0-for-3) went hitless on the day. Travis, however, reached base on balls.

"I felt good. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish," Archer said, via the Red Sox' team website. "Just out there having fun, it was really fun to be out there in the spectrum with the umpire, the fans, the batter. It was fun."

Marco Hernandez's triple got the Sox' eighth-inning off to a strong start, and singles from Matt Dominguez, Deven Marrero, Rusney Castillo and Cole Sturgeon followed. The Sox' eighth inning scoring ended after Castillo got thrown out by left fielder McCarthy at third. Six Red Sox finished with one-hit outings, including Brock Holt and Blake Swihart.

The Sox will next host the St. Louis Cardinals in Fort Myers on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET.