Shane Bieber pitched into the seventh inning, Amed Rosario hit a three-run double and closer Emmanuel Clase survived another stressful ninth as the Cleveland Guardians held on to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3. Friday night.
Bieber (4-3) didn’t have his best moment, but the right-hander held the Cardinals to two sacrifice flies before a pair of two-out walks got him into trouble in the seventh.
Rosario’s bases-clearing double in Cleveland’s four-run fifth inning — a rare big inning for the AL Central champions — came from St. Louis rookie Matthew Liberatore (1-1). The Guardians improved to just 7-12 against left-handed starters.
Bieber allowed two runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings before being pulled. He is 9-1 in his career against teams in the National League Central.
Trevor Stephan replaced Bieber in the seventh and allowed a walk to load the bases, but rushed and got DH Nolan Gorman to foul out and finish off the threat, preserving Cleveland’s two-run lead.
Enyel De Los Santos cleaned up the mess Stephan left behind in the eighth by pulling up a double play.
The Guardians then turned to Clase, who hasn’t been himself this season. He allowed a one-out RBI double to Lars Nootbaar before striking out Paul Goldschmidt and Gorman, who received a called third strike, for his MLB-leading 17th save in 22 chances.
Nolan Arenado and Alec Burleson hit sacrifice flies for the Cardinals, who are 13-6 since May 7.
Making only his second start this year, Liberatore limited the Guardians, who entered the series last or near last in all offensive categories, to just an infield single from Mike Zunino in the third inning.
However, the lefty helped spark Cleveland’s big fifth by hitting Andrés Giménez with a leadoff pitch. Zunino and Myles Straw singled to load the bases.
Steven Kwan’s RBI single made it 1-0 before Rosario hit his double into the left-field corner to give the Guardians a breather.