BOSTON (AP) — Kenley Jansen blew a ninth-inning lead for the second straight day when shortstop Kiké Hernández’s throwing error on a potential game-ending double play allowed Nolan Gorman to score the go-ahead run in a three-run ninth inning, lifting the St. Louis Cardinals to a 4-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.
The Red Sox wasted a stellar start by Chris Sale, who pitched eight innings of one-run ball in his longest outing since 2019.
Nolan Arenado had a solo homer for St. Louis a day after collecting four hits with a two-run homer. The Cardinals won Friday’s game with a three-run ninth that was capped by Gorman’s pinch-hit, two-run homer off 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 ground ball in the situation when we needed it,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “We didn’t turn the double play. It’s one of those when (Jansen) was wild early-on, they got traffic and put pressure on us.”
Jansen (1-2) walked Paul Goldschmidt and Willson Contreras, with Contreras reaching when ball four came on a pitch clock violation. After Arenado popped out, pinch hitter Gorman had an RBI double. Brendan Donovan was intentionally walked. Pinch hitter Alec Burleson then hit a fairly slow grounder to second and Hernández, trying to make the DP turn quickly, bounced the throw past first and into Boston’s dugout, allowing Gorman to score the go-ahead run after Contreras scored the tying run.
“We’re pushing with our words,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said, using his hands to gesture forward when asked what he was thinking as Burleson raced down the line for what would have been a close play.
“It worked out well for us,” Marmol said, smiling.
Andre Pallante (2-0) worked a scoreless inning for the win and Giovanny Gallegos earned his third save.
Mixing a fastball in the 96-mph range with his usual sharp moving slider, Sale held the Cardinals scoreless until Arenado homered over the Green Monster leading off the seventh.
“It’s huge, especially against Jansen, great career as a closer, hopefully he’s a Hall of Famer,” Contreras said. “We did our job last night and today not giving up. We played until the last out.”
Sale struck out nine, giving up three hits with one walk, throwing 77 of his 110 pitches for strikes.
He finished the seventh by striking out Paul DeJong swinging on a slider down — his third K of the inning — and left to a nice ovation.
But he wasn’t done there.
Sale pitched a perfect eighth and left to a loud ovation, ending his longest outing since he went eight shutout against the Los Angeles Angels in Fenway Park on Aug. 8, 2019.
“It was big,” Sale said of the chance to go out for the eighth. “I’ve said before, our job as starters is to take up as much of the game as we can.”
Cardinals starter Steven Matz gave up three runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.
With left-handed batters hitting just .130 coming into the game against Matz, lefty-batting Devers lined an RBI single off the Monster in the first before ending the inning when he was caught trying to stretch it into a double.
Inserted into the third spot into the order by Cora for his success against left-handed pitchers with a .293 average this season, Refsnysder lined his double off the Monster off Matz to make it 3-0 in the third.
Playing his first game with the Red Sox after being acquired in a trade from Oakland’s organization on Friday, Pablo Reyes doubled off the Green Monster in his first at-bat and singled to left in his second. Reyes, who was not on the 40-man roster, appeared in 21 games for Oakland’s Triple-A affiliate, Las Vegas, and hit .257 in 91 plate appearances.
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Boston’s starters have gone at least five innings in 16 of its last 17 games.
Red Sox: Cora said RHP Kutter Crawford (strained left hamstring) is slated to make a rehab appearance for Triple-A Worcester on Tuesday and join the club for its upcoming road trip.
Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas (1-1, 5.40 ERA) is set to start the series finale Sunday night. He was pulled in the fifth inning of his last start on the road against the Cubs with a high pitch count.
Red Sox: RHP Corey Kluber (2-4, 6.29) will be looking to win his third straight decision.