It’s been one hell of a rookie season for St. Louis Cardinals starter Michael Wacha, one that saw the young arm secure his first ever postseason victory after the Cardinals 2-1 win this afternoon.
Facing elimination, Wacha was absolutely dominating, throwing a perfect game until the bottom of the sixth inning when Pittsburgh’s Russell Martin was able to draw a lead-off walk.
The walk didn’t phase Wacha though as he continued to pitch flawlessly, tossing 7 1/3 innings of no-hit ball before a solo home run from Pedro Alvarez broke up Wacha’s no-hitter (and shutout). Wacha gave up a single moments later and was pulled in favor of the Cardinals bullpen as it looked as if he was finally beginning to run out of gas. His no-hit bid was the longest by a rookie in postseason history since 1912.
For Pittsburgh, starter Charlie Morton battled for over five innings and for the most part looked solid, but a two-run home run off the bat of Matt Holliday in the sixth inning gave the Cardinals a 2-0 lead that they refused to relinquish, despite the Pirates giving St. Louis all they could handle for the final few outs.
After winning two straight prior to today’s loss, Pittsburgh will now be forced to leave the comfy (and loud) confines of PNC Park and head back to the read sea of Busch Stadium for a winner-take-all Game 5 Wednesday night, with a ticket to the National League Championship at stake.