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Guardians edge Cardinals in a nail-biter

As per usual, it wasn’t easy

St. Louis Cardinals v Cleveland Guardians Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

There were plenty of doubts right up until the final out, but the Cleveland Guardians managed to edge the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-3, Friday night in yet another one-run game.

The Guardians limited all of their scoring to the fifth inning. Andrés Giménez was hit by a pitch to lead things off before Mike Zunino and Myles Straw contributed back-to-back singles to load the bases with no outs. Steven Kwan came to the plate and fell behind 1-2 before running the count full, taking the payoff pitch and lining an RBI single through the left side of the infield to give Cleveland a 1-0 lead. Amed Rosario also fell behind in the count but turned on a slider that was low and inside, lining a bases-clearing double into the corner in left field.

Their 4-0 lead would be reduced to a 4-3 lead over the next four frames.

Shane Bieber was on the bump for the Guardians and held the Cardinals scoreless for five innings. He gave up a sac fly to Nolan Arenado in the sixth inning to put St. Louis on the board. Bieber ran out of gas in the seventh, allowing a leadoff single by Brendan Donovan to come around to score on a sac fly and cut Cleveland’s lead to 4-2. After issuing a pair of walks, he got the hook in favor of Trevor Stephan, who loaded the bases with a walk of his own. Fortunately, he was able to get Nolan Gorman to foul out to end the inning.

Stephan came back out for the eighth inning and clearly didn’t have his best stuff. Kwan robbed Arenado of an extra-base hit to start the inning, making a leaping catch into the wall in left field for the first out. After Stephan walked Willson Contreras and surrendered a single to Donovan, Enyel De Los Santos got the call from the bullpen and induced an inning-ending double play.

Emmanuel Clase took the mound in the ninth inning and continues to look mortal. His latest save opportunity saw him give up back-to-back doubles to make it a one-run lead with the tying run in scoring position with one out. But Clase was able to punch out Paul Goldschmidt and strike out Gorman looking on a full count to secure the victory.