Kenley Jansen gives Red Sox fans a heart attack with close call to finish A’s sweep

Boston Red Sox v Seattle Mariners
Boston Red Sox v Seattle Mariners / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

Kenley Jansen took the mound in the bottom of the ninth inning with just one run on the board for the Boston Red Sox.

After a quick fly-out for Brent Rooker, Jansen walked the following two batters, Shea Langeliers and Lawrence Butler. Butler began his at-bat with a foul ball and a whiff to collect two strikes quickly, but Jansen struggled to keep the ball over the plate. A few borderline calls from the home plate umpire didn't help Jansen, and they elicited some comments from Alex Cora by the dugout.

Abraham Toro succeeded Butler at the dish and on a one and two count, he tapped a single to the middle infield. Trevor Story and Enmanuel Valdez scrambled to make a play. Story fielded the ball and passed it to Valdez, who stepped on second for the out, but he overthrew to Triston Casas at first to keep the A's in the game with runners on the corners.

Jansen stayed collected on the mound. He struck out Ryan Noda in five pitches to secure a 1-0 win for the Sox and a three-game sweep of the Athletics. The veteran closer also collected his 422nd career save, tying him with Billy Wagner for sixth all-time.

The Red Sox and Kenley Jansen secure sweep of A's despite ninth-inning struggles

Since his injury struggles in spring training, Jansen's velocity is noticeably lower and his command shaky. He gave the Red Sox and their fans a scare with Langeliers on third, ready to tie the game and force another bout of extra innings for the Sox and the A's.

Boston's shaky defense didn't help matters — the Red Sox posted two errors against Oakland on Wednesday afternoon. The team has shown defensive improvements from last year, but they can't afford to make any errors with just one run on the board.

It's still early in the season, though, and Boston played six West Coast road games to open the campaign. The Red Sox have a much-needed day off on April 4 before they begin their next series against the Angels. The pitchers will have time to re-adjust and the defense can work out some of the kinks that caused today's mistakes.

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