BOSTON -- By the time Pedro Ciriaco stepped to the plate in the bottom of the eighth on Saturday night, Fenway Park sounded like it often did when an iconic pitcher took the mound from 1998-2004.
"Pedro, Pedro, Pedro!" roared the masses at Fenway.
Unlike pitching legend Pedro Martinez, only avid Red Sox fans had even heard of Ciriaco when the game began. But by the time Boston had salvaged a split of the day-night doubleheader with a badly-needed 9-5 victory over the Yankees, the new Pedro was the man of the hour.
Ciriaco, a 27-year-old utility infielder who had played in just 31 career Major League games for the Pirates before Friday's callup to Boston, put together a dazzling performance.
Making the start at shortstop, Ciriaco went 4-for-5 with two runs scored, two doubles and four RBIs. He also stole third and made all the plays in the field.
It was Ciriaco's bases-clearing double into the left-field corner in the sixth that put the Red Sox ahead for the first time, and for good.
"When he came up his fifth time, I loved that," manager Bobby Valentine said of the response from the crowd. "And what it does is it tells you what kind of fans we have. It's a wonderful baseball moment. I guarantee you most people came to the ballpark and they weren't carrying his baseball card with them, but they recognized a super performance."
Though it was commonplace for Martinez to hear his first name roared by hearty Bostonians, this was something Ciriaco never could have imagined.
"I don't think I'm on that level [like Pedro Martinez]," Ciriaco said. "It was really fun for me. Hearing everybody say my name was amazing."
Mauro Gomez didn't get the cult hero treatment from the crowd, but he was another unheralded prospect who came up big for Boston.
Starting at third in place of the injured Will Middlebrooks, Gomez was 3-for-4 with two runs scored, two doubles and one RBI.
"I believe in him as a hitter. I don't know that he's going to be our everyday third baseman, because Will is coming back," Valentine said. "The little we saw of him in Spring Training, and then following the reports and hearing what the Triple-A staff have to say about him, he's a hitter. It's good to have hitters."
What the Red Sox needed desperately entering this one was a win, and they got it, snapping a five-game losing streak.
Quite simply, Boston can't afford to fall much further back in the American League East. By finally beating the Yankees for the first time in five tries this season, Valentine's team moved back above .500 (43-42) while moving to 8 1/2 games back in the division -- which is where it was when the long day started.
"Well, every victory is important, but it's good to beat these guys and it's good to come back, because it seemed like they were going to score early and just keep us down," Valentine said. "The guys were determined to come back up off the floor. It was a good victory."
Adrian Gonzalez also had a big game for the Red Sox, going 3-for-5 with two doubles.
With Yankees taking a 5-0 lead on Friday night, and jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the opening frame of Saturday's Game 1 victory, the last thing the Red Sox could afford to do in the nightcap was fall behind out of the gate again.
But that's exactly what happened.
Mark Teixeira walloped a three-run homer against Red Sox starter Felix Doubront, and it was 3-0 before Boston took its first swing.
Give Doubront credit for this: He settled right down. And that gave the Red Sox a chance to hit their way back into the game.
"I was just thinking to get the win and pitch good and get those hitters out to win the game," said Doubront.
Doubront did earn the win, allowing four hits and four runs (three earned) over 6 1/3 innings. He closed the first half with a 9-4 record.
The Boston bats started making noise in the third. Gomez got it started in with a double and Ciriaco put down a bunt single. The Red Sox got a run home, but not in the way they would have chosen, as Daniel Nava hit into a 4-6-3 double play.
Nick Punto trimmed New York's lead to 3-2 with a sacrifice fly to center in the fifth.
In the sixth, the Red Sox came all the way back. Gonzalez got it started with a single. Cody Ross got a break, as Derek Jeter couldn't field his grounder, and it was ruled an error. With one out, Gomez laced a single into left. Up stepped Ciriaco, and he ripped a three-run double past the dive of third baseman Jayson Nix. Suddenly, Boston had a 5-3 lead.
"It's tough. You can't give good teams extra outs," said Jeter of New York's four errors. "We gave them way too many outs today. They capitalized on it, which was good on their part, but we gave them way too many outs."
Doubront gave one of the runs back in the seventh when Andruw Jones unloaded for a solo shot over the Monster, giving him three home runs in the doubleheader.
But the Red Sox went right back on the attack in the seventh. Gonzalez again was the igniter, this time with a leadoff double to right-center.
Ryan Sweeney, fresh off being activated from the disabled list, pummeled an RBI triple to the triangle.
Gomez continued his hot night with a double to left. Ciriaco, who was in the middle of everything all night, ripped another double down the third-base line that eluded a diving Nix and allowed pinch-runner Mike Aviles to score. Ciriaco then stole third and scored when catcher Russell Martin's throw went into left field.
At the end of a gratifying night, Ciriaco was hoping he gave his career a boost.
"I've got to take advantage of every opportunity," said Ciriaco. "There's a lot of players in the organization trying to be here. We play to be in this league, so I've got to take advantage of that."