Nos. 8-9 hitters Iglesias, Ciriaco excel

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox have employed three different starting third basemen and two different starting shortstops in the first three games of their series with the Cleveland Indians.

On Saturday, the microscope again focused on the left side of the infield. Most of what was seen was positive.

Jose Iglesias, who returned to his regular spot after one game at third base in order to spell regular shortstop Stephen Drew, went 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Third baseman du jour Pedro Ciriaco matched him with three hits, adding an RBI and scoring the tying run in the eighth as the Sox rallied for a 7-4 win.

"Can't say enough about the day both he and Iggy had in the 8-9 holes," manager John Farrell said of Ciriaco and Iglesias. "They had some huge contributions today offensively, and then we started to just chip away."

Iglesias, who is now hitting .481, drew a few snickers when his first hit was again of the infield variety, but he managed to silence the snark with a hard double down the right-field line in the fourth and a legit single to right in the sixth that led to the game-tying run.

Ciriaco, who doubled in Iglesias in the second, singled to push his bottom-of-the-order buddy along in the sixth and had a one-out double in the eighth that ignited a four-run rally that proved to be the difference. It helped offset another game with another error for Ciriaco, whose defensive game has been shaky.

At the very least, he got some results at the plate and hopes to alleviate the issues with the glove in time.

"I've been working very hard in the cage and the field, trying to get better," Ciriaco said.

The utility man sees merit in being bunched with Iglesias. While there might not be a lot of pop at the bottom of the order, it can be a menace on days when both hitters get going.

"He's a pretty good player," Ciriaco said of Iglesias. "He's fast, and me, too, and we can do things together."

The unsettled situation on the left side of the infield will prevent those two from being together all that often, but it is nice for the Red Sox to know that they won't have a black hole at the bottom of the lineup every night that Drew and Will Middlebrooks, who is on the disabled list, are out.

"They played great. Both of them," Dustin Pedroia said. "You add the speed, too. They turn the lineup over and give the top of the order a chance to drive in runs."

Iglesias' effort, which coincides with Drew's continued soreness in his back, will continue to muddy the waters at that position. In doing so, Iglesias has solidified his reputation among those who make the big decisions.

"I was just talking to some people in the front office, and it's clear he's extremely confident and he believes in himself," Farrell said. "You see it in his actions, the way he carries himself, and it's not in a disrespectful way. He's very sure of himself. We saw it as spring training unfolded, it was reinforced in the time before Stephen joined us and he comes back to us again and he's a strong believer in himself and his abilities to succeed at this level."