Shane Bieber threw 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball and the Cleveland Guardians held on for a 4-3 win over the visiting St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.
Bieber (4-3) yielded five hits and four walks while striking out two. Emmanuel Clase yielded a run in the ninth but emerged with his major-league-leading 17th save.
Cleveland built a 4-0 lead thanks to a fifth-inning rally off Matthew Liberatore that included an RBI single from Steven Kwan and a three-run double from Amed Rosario.
The Cardinals made things interesting to the end. With one out in the ninth, Lars Nootbar drove an RBI double over the head of Kwan in left field to cut the Guardians’ lead to one.
Clase needed 32 pitches to get through the frame. But he struck out 2022 National League MVP Paul Goldschmidt on a check swing, then he got Nolan Gorman — the NL leader in slugging percentage (.597) — to look at a called strike three.
Bieber traded zeros with Liberatore until the fifth, when the Guardians pieced together a big rally one base at a time, getting the first five men on base and scoring four of them.
Bieber hit Andres Gimenez with a pitch to start the inning, and Cleveland loaded the bases on soft singles by Myles Straw and Mike Zunino. Kwan drove in Gimenez with a single to short left field.
Amed Rosario then cleared the bases by lining a double into the left field corner and the Guardians had a 4-0 edge.
The Cardinals, playing their 15th of a stretch 19 games in as many days, chipped away at the lead, scoring single runs in the sixth and seventh on sacrifice flies by Nolan Arenado and Alec Burleson, respectively.
The seventh got even more interesting as Bieber walked the last two batters he faced before reliever Trevor Stephan walked Goldschmidt to load the bases. However, Stephan got Nolan Gorman to pop out to third baseman Jose Ramirez in foul territory.
Gorman finished 0-for-4, ending his 15-game hitting streak.
Kwan also helped keep a potential run off the board with a spectacular catch of Arenado’s drive to the left field wall in the eighth.
–Field Level Media