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.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.