Pedro Ciriaco saves Boston’s bacon in 9-5 win

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Pedro Ciriaco is so good he even collects hits after the game ends.

Making his Red Sox debut Saturday, Ciriaco went 4-for-5 with four RBI in Boston’s 9-5 win over the Yankees in the second game of a doubleheader. His performance caused the Fenway faithful to bring back the “Pedro” chant for the first time since Martinez left after the 2004 season.

The 26-year-old Ciriaco also started the first game today, but since he went 0-for-4 in that one, I’m choosing to gloss over that fact.

Ciriaco actually ended the game with three hits and three RBI, but his seventh inning grounder to third was changed from an error to a hit after the game. Even with the change, the Yankees still committed four errors in the loss.

I wrote about Ciriaco this spring, as he played well enough to make the Red Sox, but the decision to carry five outfielders cost him a roster spot. Currently replacing Dustin Pedroia, he has a chance to stick over Brent Lillibridge once the Red Sox start making some tough roster decisions after the break. He’s not all that much of a hitter, but he’s a better middle infielder than Lillibridge and he’d be a far better pinch-running option late in games than Boston’s other bench players.

Thanks to Ciriaco, the Red Sox will at least avoid what would have been a humiliating four-game sweep at Fenway. They’ll have a chance to split the series if Jon Lester can outduel Ivan Nova in Sunday night’s finale.

Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson to table extension talks

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Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.

Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.

The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.

If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.