Pedro Ciriaco Quickly Evolving Into Yankee Killer With Heroic Performances in Clutch

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Pedro Ciriaco Quickly Evolving Into Yankee Killer With Heroic Performances in ClutchNEW YORK — A month ago, Pedro Ciriaco was playing hero in Pawtucket.

These days, the stakes are much higher. For the second straight game, the Red Sox utilityman delivered a knockout blow to the Yankees, looping an RBI bloop in the 10th inning to lift the Red Sox to a 3-2 victory and series win on Sunday.

The heroics came one day after Ciriaco rifled an RBI triple in the ninth inning of Saturday's showdown, providing the go-ahead run in the 8-6 win. Little by little, Ciriaco is proving to be New York's kryptonite.

"I got a little lucky — not too hard, not too soft," Ciriaco said of his game-winning hits. "I feel like this year I'm more consistent in my approach and they gave me a chance to play here and I got to take advantage of that."

He's capitalizing on the opportunity, and at the Yankees' expense. In five games against the Bronx Bombers this season, the 26-year-old is flourishing under pressure, batting .500 (11-for-22) with six RBIs.

Keep in mind that Ciriaco only has eight RBIs this season. But he's developing a reputation as a clutch hitter, going from a mammoth hit on Saturday to a blooper that barely squeezed in between Robinson Cano and Ichiro Suzuki on Sunday.

"It's part of the game," Ciriaco said of clutch situations. "And everyone on the team wants to do good and it doesn’t matter the situation, I feel confident and I'm just trying to do my job."

Ciriaco finished the game 1-for-4, giving him a batting average of .349 through 18 games. In his brief stretch with the Red Sox, Ciriaco has already posted career highs in RBIs (eight), hits (21), an improvement over his 23-game stint with the Pirates last year.

"Pedro Ciriaco is there with the nice inside-out base hit," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "We’ll take bloops. We need them."

But Ciriaco showcased this potential spring training audition, hitting .419 in the exhibition games in Fort Myers. Before getting promoted to the big leagues in May, Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks envisioned success for Ciriaco in Pawtucket.

"Absolutely he's been playing like this all year," Middlebrooks said. "He's a really good player."

Whether it's in New York or Boston, Ciriaco is validating the hefty praise by torching the Yankees.

Have a question for Didier Morais? Send it to him via Twitter at @DidierMorais or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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