BOSTON — Kenley Jansen gambled away the lead in the ninth inning for a second straight year when shortstop Kiké Hernández’s throwing error on a potential game-winning double play allowed Nolan Gorman to start a ninth inning with three runs and seal the win The St. Louis Cardinals clinched a 4-3 win over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.
The Red Sox missed a stellar start from Chris Sale, who pitched eight innings with a one-run ball in his longest stint since 2019.
Nolan Arenado hit a solo home run for St. Louis a day after hitting four with a two-run home run. The Cardinals won Friday’s game with a ninth hit in three runs, capped by Gorman’s narrow two-run home run against Jansen.
Rob Refsnyder had a two-run double and three hits, and Rafael Devers added an RBI single for the Red Sox.
“We got a groundball in the situation where we needed it,” said Boston coach Alex Cora. “We didn’t shoot the doubles game. It’s one of them.” [Jansen] It was wild early on, they got traffic and put pressure on us.
Jansen (1-2) went on foot against Paul Goldschmidt and Willson Contreras, with Contreras catching the ball when ball four landed due to a pitch clock violation. After Arenado popped out, pinch hitter Gorman hit an RBI double. Brendan Donovan was intentionally marched. Pinch-hitter Alec Burleson then hit a fairly slow grounder into second, and Hernández, attempting to quickly flip the DP, let the throw go first and landed in Boston’s dugout, allowing Gorman to get the go-ahead after Contreras equalized the run had scored.
“We’re putting pressure on with our words,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said, waving his hands forward when asked what he was thinking as Burleson sped down the line in what would have been a close play.
“It worked out well for us,” Marmol said, smiling.
Andre Pallante (2-0) secured victory with a scoreless inning and Giovanny Gallegos made a third save.
“It’s huge, especially against Jansen, a great career as a closer, hopefully he’s a Hall of Famer,” said Contreras. “Last night and today we did our job and didn’t give up. We played until the last game.”
Sale hit a fastball in the 96-mile range with his usual sharp slider, keeping the Cardinals scoreless until Arenado homed the Green Monster and started the seventh run.
Sale hit nine hits, allowed three hits on a walk, and threw 77 of his 110 throws for strikes.
He finished the seventh by hitting Paul DeJong down with a slider – his third K of the inning – and left the game to nice applause.
But he wasn’t done with that.
Sale hit a perfect eighth and left to loud applause. That ended his longest stint since he played eight innings of shutout against the Los Angeles Angels at Fenway Park on August 8, 2019.
“It was great,” Sale said of the chance to get eliminated for the eighth time. “I’ve said before that our job as starters is to take as much of the game as we can.”
Cardinals starter Steven Matz gave up three runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.