Red Sox Spring Training Update (3/12-18): Ciriaco Continues to Shine

The Red Sox are either celebrating Pedro Ciriaco's walk-off extra-innings home run against the Marlins Monday or him retaining his "Spring Training Player of the Week" title. (Photo by Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox)

Non-roster shortstop Pedro Ciriaco gave the Boston Red Sox some pretty good reasons to keep on the squad come opening day. After winning SoB’s inaugural “Spring Training Player of the Week,” Ciriaco followed it up by batting .538 with two doubles and a home run in six games this week. He scored four runs and drove in five.

The Red Sox as a team matched last week’s success, once again going 4-2-1. How’d they get there? Here’s this week’s Red Sox Spring Training Update.

Red Sox 5, Marlins 3 (10)

After Nate Spears bunted his way to first with one down in the bottom of tenth Monday, Ciriaco drilled a 1-0 home run to left, giving the Red Sox their first walk-off win in preseason.

Prior to Ciriaco, the Red Sox had gone up 1-0 in the second on a triple from Mike Aviles (2-3) and an RBI double from Nick Punto. As two likely major leaguers, this sequence is particularly encouraging. The Red Sox added two in the third on an RBI single from Cody Ross and a sacrifice fly from Kelly Shoppach.

Josh Beckett started and went four innings, giving up an earned run on a hit, two walks and three strikeouts. He also hit two batters. Scott Atchison blew a 3-2 lead in the ninth by giving up an RBI sacrifice fly, setting up Ciriaco’s game-ender.

Non-roster pitcher Jesse Carlson gave up a hit and struck out one in a scoreless tenth for the win.

Red Sox 1, Yankees 0

Red Sox swing-man Felix Doubront matched Yankee phenom Ivan Nova inning for inning Tuesday, with both allowing just two hits over four scoreless innings. Both struck out three, though Doubront also walked a guy and balked once.

Following a scoreless fifth from Michael Bowden (one hit, three strikeouts), Vicente Padilla took over and dominated, pitching three perfect innings with four strikeouts.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, caught a break to start the ninth inning. Ciriaco singled, but two errors by the Yankees – one in the outfield, one in the infield – allowed Ciriaco to score the game’s only run. Padilla got the win, while David Phelps suffered a hard-luck loss that really wasn’t his fault.

Junichi Tazawa‘s journey back from Tommy John surgery took a giant leap forward, as he earned the save by giving up just a single with three strikeouts in the ninth.

Cardinals 9, Red Sox 6

Well…. Thursday’s game was one Daniel Bard will want to forget as soon as humanly possible. Given a 4-1 lead to start the sixth, Bard coughed it all up with a solo homer and two two-out RBI singles.

A bases-loaded double from “Who Else But” Ciriaco (2-2) made it 6-4 Red Sox, but Bard struggled again in the eighth, allowing four two-out hits. The killer: a bases-loaded triple by St. Louis center fielder Shane Robinson that gave them a 7-6 lead.

The Red Sox put two men on to start the ninth, but Kyle McClellan retired the next three for the save. Bard took the loss, giving up seven earned runs on six hits and four walks with just one strikeout. Jacoby Ellsbury went 2-3, and Darnell McDonald went 2-2.

Twins 2, Red Sox 1

Boston made its first four cuts Friday, with Will Middlebrooks and six other players either optioned to Triple-A or reassigned to minor league camp. Minnesota finally fought back in the “battle” for the Mayor’s Cup that night, with starter Liam Hendricks limiting Boston to just a walk in three innings.

Jon Lester, meanwhile, gave up two runs in four innings. The Twins went up 1-0 in the top of the second on back-to-back-to singles, then took a 2-0 lead on another RBI single in the fourth.

A double by Ciriaco and single from Kevin Youkilis put the Red Sox on the board, but that’s all they got. With two men on in the ninth, Daryl Thompson struck out the last two Red Sox to finish the save. Hendricks got the win, Lester the loss.

As a small silver lining, Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey pitched a perfect sixth with two strikeouts.

Red Sox 7, Orioles 3

Two three-run innings helped the Red Sox put this game away by the sixth. Tied 1-1 entering the bottom of the fourth, the Red Sox went up 4-1 on an RBI double from Punto and a 2-RBI single from Lars Anderson (2-3). They went up 7-1 on two RBI groundouts and a homer from Ross (2-3).

Beckett started and earned his first win, allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk with two strikeouts in five innings. The Orioles got back three runs on Tazawa, but that just set up Bowden for his second save of Spring Training.

Red Sox 3, Orioles 3 (10)

Boston’s 3-2 lead entering the bottom of the ninth gave them a chance to sweep Saturday’s split-squad double-header, but non-roster pitcher Doug Mathis blew the save, giving up a double and RBI single with two outs. Both sides went 1-2-3 in the tenth, so they called it a draw.

The Red Sox drew first blood in the fifth, with Spears hitting a three-run homer. The Orioles got two runs back in the bottom of the sixth on an errant pickoff throw by Clayton Mortensen – Boston’s only non-roster pitcher in this game – and a passed ball by minor league catcher Luis Exposito.

Will Inman started for Boston, giving up a hit and a walk with a strikeout over 3.1 scoreless innings.

Red Sox 8, Rays 4

The Red Sox clobbered the Rays’ first two pitchers, putting up six runs in the first four innings. Ross and Josh Kroeger hit solo home runs in the first and second, and Kroeger added a sacrifice fly following a bases-loaded walk to make it 4-1 after three.

The Red Sox went up 6-1 in the fourth on an RBI single by Hassan and a run-scoring double-play. Hassan’s second single of the day put Boston up 7-1 in the sixth, and Ciriaco drove in his fifth run of the week with a single in the ninth.

Clay Buchholz continued his strong preseason with five innings of one run-baseball, giving up a solo home run in the second but otherwise holding Tampa Bay to three hits with no walks and four strikeouts. Padilla pitched the final three innings, giving up a run but locking down the win for his first save.

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