Ciricaco (4-for-4) solidifies reputation as Yankee-killer


Ciricaco (4-for-4) solidifies reputation as Yankee-killer

NEW YORK -- No one can explain it, so the Red Sox are simply content to enjoy it.

Pedro Ciriaco is murdering Yankees' pitching this season.

He had a four-hit game Saturday in the team's 4-1 win over New York -- singles in the second and fifth, a bunt single in the seventh innings, before adding a double in the eighth.

He also scored a run and stole a base.

For Ciriaco, it was his second four-hit game of the year and both have come against the Yankees. In fact, Ciriaco has had six games this year with at least three hits and four of those have come against the Yankees.

He's batting .517 (15-for-29) against the Yanks, with nine runs scored and seven RBI in seven games.

"We're in the same division,'' shrugged Ciriaco of playing this well against his team's rivals. "I just try to play my best. I've been really happy to be doing what I've been doing. I'm not trying to do too much -- just trying to get a good pitch to hit and take advantage.''

Ciriaco said the setting isn't a factor in his success.

"I'm excited every time I get to the plate,'' he said.

A career journeyman, Ciriaco takes pride in the fact that, both at Triple-A Pawtucket and in his various stints with the Red Sox, he's "been more consistent this year.''

Joked Bobby Valentine: "You think they the Yankees are going to try to trade for him? He's played well against the Yankees.''

Lefty reliever Craig Breslow and catcher Ryan Lavarnway made history Saturday, but of more consequence to the Red Sox was that they got the biggest two outs of the game.

Both Lavarnway and Breslow are graduates of Yale and Saturday is believed to have represented the first time in modern baseball history that a game has featured an all-Yale battery.

Still, it wasn't just the historic first. It was what they did on the only pitch in which they were in the game together.

Breslow came in with Nick Swisher on first and one out in the eighth. Lavarnway called for a curve, which Robinson Cano hit for the start of a inning-ending double play, 3-6-3.

"He threw a really good curveball and got on top of it,'' said Valentine of Breslow.

Lavarnway said he heard from his former college coach, ex-major league pitcher John Stuper -- via text -- after the game.

When it was noted of his Ivy League battery that Breslow has a degree in biomolecular engineering, Valentine joked: "I don't talk to those guys."

MLB ump saves woman attempting to jump from Pittsburgh bridge


MLB ump saves woman attempting to jump from Pittsburgh bridge

PITTSBURGH -- John Tumpane can't explain why he approached the woman as she hopped over the railing of the Roberto Clemente Bridge on Wednesday afternoon.

The woman told Tumpane she just wanted to get a better view of the Allegheny River below. The look on her face and the tone of her voice suggested otherwise to Tumpane, a major league baseball umpire in town to work the series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays.

So the 34-year-old Tumpane reached for the woman even as she urged him to let her go.

"It was just pure instinct," Tumpane said . "You hear kind of stories of this all the time, different scenarios, people aiding and situation where I was lucky enough to be there to help and try to think of everything I could do, hanging on to her. At times she wanted to go the other way. I was like, 'not on my watch, please.' We were just hanging on."

And saving a life.

Tumpane secured one of her arms. A bystander walked up and grabbed the other while another -- Mike Weinman, an employee for the Rays -- clutched her legs and pinned them to the railing while Tumpane mouthed to someone in the crowd to call 911.

What followed were chaotic moments of panic, fear and ultimately, grace.

"I couldn't tell you how long we were waiting for everyone else to get in place," Tumpane said. 'Obviously another power comes into be when you're hanging on and you know what the alternative is of you letting go and not having other people to help you."

Tumpane, Weinman and the third volunteer clung to the unidentified woman until emergency responders arrived. A police boat raced up the river to the iconic yellow bridge named for the Pirates Hall of Famer who died on Dec. 31, 1972, when a plane making humanitarian deliveries to earthquake victims in Nicaragua crashed. Now, 45 years later a crowd thrust together by fate brought a complete stranger back from the brink. Together.

"Once they were able to secure her, we were able to talk her back to help us out and we got her back on this side," Tumpane said. "After that I went up to her, she said, 'You'll just forget me after this' and I said, 'No, I'll never forget you.' This was an unbelievable day and I'm glad to say she can have another day with us and I'm glad I was in the right place at the right time."

Tumpane, who grew up in the Chicago suburbs, got into umpiring as a teenager, made his major-league debut in 2012 and received his full-time MLB commission in 2016, stressed he's no hero.

"I just happened to be there," he said. "I think I've been a caring person in my life. I saw somebody in need, and it looked like a situation to obviously insert myself and help out."

The aftermath was a bit surreal. After the woman was taken away, Tumpane called his wife, his arms still shaking.

"Not too many times you call your wife and say you helped save somebody's life," he said. "A really special moment."

One that stayed with him even as he prepared to call balls and strikes behind home plate Wednesday night. During breaks in the action his eyes would drift to the bridge just a few hundred feet behind the center field wall at PNC Park.

"It's also hard when you stand back behind home plate and look and you see the bridge in the distance, In between innings and whatnot, just thinking of how things could have maybe been," he said. "Glad it was this way."

Tumpane has no experience in crisis management or suicide prevention. He's spent 16 years living the nomadic life of an umpire. Asked what was going through his head while he tried to coax the woman back to safety, Tumpane just shrugged his shoulders. How do you explain the unexplainable?

"I happened to be in the right spot at the right time," he said. "Tried to be as comforting as I could and talk her through it. Thankfully that was the outcome."