By KEN POWTAK Associated Press
BOSTON (AP) — Nick Pivetta pitched seven dominant innings with 10 strikeouts, Christian Vázquez hit a three-run homer and the Boston Red Sox held off the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4 on Sunday to win their fifth straight series.
Trevor Story added a solo shot and Jackie Bradley Jr. had a go-ahead single for the Red Sox, who rebounded after getting blown out 11-2 on Saturday night for their 13th victory in 17 games.
St. Louis wrapped up just its second visit to Fenway Park in 14 years. The Cardinals have lost three of four.
Juan Yepez had a pinch hit three-run homer in the ninth and Tyler O’Neill had three hits for the Cardinals but had to leave the game due to left hamstring tightness after legging out a double.
Pivetta (7-5) continued his hot stretch, giving up just one run and four hits, with four walks. He’s 7-1 with a 1.77 ERA in his last nine starts.
“I was really happy with the way it finished,” said Pivetta, who struck out the side in his final inning. “I was really focused on putting a zero up on the board. It was still a 2-1 game.”
He gave up all of his walks in the first three innings.
“We had to get back to the normal Pivetta we know,” said catcher Vázquez. “When he attacks the zone with the fastball no matter who’s hitting, he doesn’t care who’s hitting. He attacks everybody.”
Pivetta said he was still pumped up afterward.
“He’s an electric kid,” Vázquez said.
Tanner Houck struck out Brendan Donovan for the final out after Yepez’s homer with a runner on second for his fourth save.
Vázquez hit his shot into the Green Monster seats, making it 6-1 in the eighth.
Cardinals’ slugger Albert Pujols, who announced he’s retiring at the end of the season, started at DH despite a right-hander pitching and went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts.
Making just his third career start, rookie right-hander Andre Pallante (2-2) pitched sharply into the sixth, allowing two runs, four hits, striking out four and walking one.
“Pallante did a nice job,” St Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “He competed extremely well, under control the whole time, a lot of ground balls. … Overall, a solid mix. We wanted to keep him right around 75 today. We got to that pitch count. A nice job.”
Bradley broke a tie with a two-out single up-the-middle in the fifth, a grounder that slipped past the dive of shortstop Tommy Edman, scoring Alex Verdugo from second.
Story hit Pallante’s fastball to the opposite field, a drive that sailed over Boston’s bullpen in the second for his 10th homer.
The Cardinals tied it in the fourth when O’Neill singled leading off, stole second and scored on Harrison Bader’s two-out single.
Cardinals LHP Génesis Cabrera had a gift he bought for himself hanging in his locker — a Celtics Jayson Tatum road jersey.
Cabrera, from the Dominican, wanted to buy one of his fellow countrymen, Al Horford, but couldn’t find one in the store, so he bought Tatum’s instead.
FATHER’S DAY GREETING
Marmol’s wife, Amber, and young daughter, Riley, were on the trip.
“They were here and, yes, I woke up to kisses,” he said.
Red Sox RHP James Norwood, acquired Saturday from the Phillies for cash, was added to the roster. RHP Kutter Crawford was sent to Triple-A Worcester.
Cardinals: RHP Jack Flaherty will make his second start after returning from a right-shoulder injury on Tuesday in Milwaukee with the plan to throw about 75 pitches before there’s expected to be no limit after that. “We’ll build up his pitch count this next time out,” manager Oliver Marmol said. “He was 60 last time. We’ll drive that up. … After that, he’ll be a regular big-league pitcher.”
Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (out since spring training, fracture rib cage) is expected to throw a second simulated game off the Fenway mound on Monday. … OF Verdugo was in the lineup after getting Saturday off.
Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas (5-4, 2.62 ERA) is set to start on Monday in the opener of a four-game series at Milwaukee. Mikolas took a no-hitter into the ninth in his last start at Pittsburgh before Cal Mitchell’s ground-rule double. RHP Corbin Burnes (4-4, 2.52) is scheduled for the Brewers.
Red Sox: RHP Josh Winckowski (1-1, 4.50) is slated to start against Tigers RHP Alex Faedo (1-3, 4.28) in the first of three at Fenway on Monday.
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