BOSTON — Michael Wacha tossed his former team in the sixth inning and the Boston Red Sox finished the St. Louis rally in the ninth, holding off the Cardinals 6-5 on Friday night.
The NL Central-leading Cardinals were 6-1 down going into the ninth round, with reliever Austin Davis knocking out the first two batsmen.
But Dylan Carlson doubled, Harrison Bader tripled, and Andrew Knizner was hit by a pitch, ending Davis’ outing. Reliever Tanner Houck gave an RBI double to Tommy Edman, making it 6-3, and a two-run double to Brendan Donovan.
Paul Goldschmidt was then called to strike and gave Houck his third save.
“Nice rally,” said Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol. “The guys took some pretty good bats and strung together some quality bats. You go down the line and it’s a pretty solid quality string.”
Trevor Story and Rafael Devers each drove two runs for Boston. Nolan Arenado hit his 12th homer for the Cardinals.
Wacha (5-1) allowed a run to six hits and a walk in 5 1/3 innings. He dropped five.
“Today felt like it was a special Friday night with their fans, with our fans,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “The last inning got interesting but that’s what you expect against them. They play just like us, right up to the end.”
Wacha made his major league debut with the Cardinals in 2013, helping them reach the World Series against Boston. He beat the Red Sox in Game 2 but was the starter and lost the pitcher in Game 6 at Fenway Park as Boston won the championship.
“I tried not to think about it too much,” Wacha said of his former team. “I tried to just approach it like any other start, any other game.”
“Obviously there are a lot of good friends and good buddies over there. So I was just trying not to make too much eye contact with them and let my mind wander, just focus on making quality pitches and giving that team a chance to win a ball game. So it was a fun night,” he said.
Adam Wainwright (5-5) went 6 1/3 innings giving up four runs with seven hits and one walk. Wainwright, a former Cardinals teammate of Wacha, hit five and one hitter.
Jarren Duran first led with a three-pointer from Boston and later scored when JD Martinez landed in a doubles game.
“I was disappointed in a few pitches,” Wainwright said. “I was in command most of the time but made a couple of fastball errors and cost me a few runs there. It could have been good. I wish we could have kept her there. We probably would have won the game. We do not have that.”
Story’s one-out single in the fourth drove in Martinez, who opened the inning with a single, and Xander Bogaerts, who doubled. It was the first time since June 3 that Story had multiple RBIs in a game.
Devers hit a two-run single during a three-run seventh that made it 6-1.
Cardinals: Before the game, C. Yadier Molina was put on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Thursday, with a sore in his right knee. He should be idle for at least a week. C Iván Herrera was called up by Triple-A Memphis to take his place in the roster.
Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale, who has been out all season with a fractured right rib, is scheduled to begin a rehab stint in the Florida Complex League on Monday. He is expected to field two innings. Cora said the goal is for Sale to pitch five innings in a rehab game before returning to the major leagues. … Cora said RHP Nate Eovaldi is progressing more slowly from a lower back infection than the club anticipated. Eovaldi has been on the IL since June 9th. … RHP Garrett Whitlock, who has been on the IL since June 9 with a right hip infection, has started playing tag. … OF Kiké Hernández, who has been on the IL since June 8 with a right hip flexor strain, has been doing on-field batting practice before the game and is scheduled to practice live on Saturday against LHP Josh Taylor, who has been out all season at lower back strain. If Taylor makes it through this session without issue, he could start a rehab assignment next week.
Red Sox RHP Kutter Crawford (1-1, 5.74 ERA) is expected to face Cardinals RHP Dakota Hudson (4-3, 3.29). This will be Crawford’s second start of the season – in his last start on June 12 in Seattle he made no decision, going five innings without a score and allowing one hit with seven strikeouts. Hudson accepted the loss in his last game on June 12 against Cincinnati, giving up season highs of six carries and nine hits over seven innings.