Sox beat Cardinals in close match-up
ST. LOUIS -- The matchup of best friends ended with two well-pitched games, two no-decisions and a Boston win.
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts' sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning Wednesday night snapped a tie and gave the Red Sox a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
In a game dominated by the pitching of Boston's Joe Kelly and St. Louis' Shelby Miller, it was reliever Junichi Tazawa (2-3) who earned the win after pitching a clean eighth inning. Closer Koji Uehara worked around two singles in the ninth to bag his 23rd save.
Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes led off the ninth with a single off closer Trevor Rosenthal (1-6). First baseman Mike Napoli lined his second double of the night, with Cespedes stopping at third, and pinch hitter David Ortiz was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Bogaerts lined the first pitch to center, easily scoring Cespedes and providing the Red Sox(50-63) with just their third win in 14 games.
St. Louis (60-52) saw its three-game winning streak end and missed a chance to tie the Milwaukee Brewers, 7-4 losers to the San Francisco Giants, for first place in the National League Central.
Kelly, who was traded July 31 to Boston along with outfielder Allen Craig for starter John Lackey, completed seven innings for just the third time in 41 major league starts. He allowed only three hits and a run, walking four and fanning two.
Miller worked seven innings as well, giving up four hits and a run with one walk and four strikeouts. It was the third consecutive solid start for Miller since he rejoined the rotation July 26.
Following a 63-minute rain delay, St. Louis got the scoring started in the bottom of the first. First baseman Matt Adams lashed a two-out single to right, scoring third baseman Matt Carpenter, who led off with a double.
After wasting leadoff hits in the second and third, Boston got the run back in the fourth. Bogaerts ripped a two-out double off the glove of left fielder Matt Holliday at the left-center-field wall, sending right fielder Daniel Nava home from first.
A weird play ended the Cardinals' fourth. Right fielder Oscar Taveras rapped a one-hopper off Kelly, with the ball deflecting toward the first base line. Kelly's flip to first hit Taveras, but first base umpire Gary Cederstrom called Taveras out for interference.
NOTES: Tuesday night's crowd of 43,432 at Busch Stadium snapped a streak of 12 straight home sellouts for St. Louis. The Cardinals have drawn more than 40,000 for every home game and sold out 37 of their 56 home games. ... Boston INF Kelly Johnson (strained left groin) is 0-for-6 with two walks through two games on a rehab assignment with Double-A Portland. Johnson was acquired from the New York Yankees on July 31 for SS Stephen Drew. ... Cardinals OF Matt Holliday's ejection in the seventh inning Tuesday night was the third of his career and his first since June 25, 2011.