Michael Wacha took a no-hitter into the 9th inning in Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates before losing it to a clean, line drive single to right from pinch-hitter Colin Moran on a 0-2 count. Sunday’s performance was not unprecedented for Wacha who took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Washington Nationals in his rookie campaign (2003) before a younger Ryan Zimmerman threw a wrench in Wacha’s plans with an infield single.
The closest the Pirates came to a hit before Moran in the ninth was Josh Bell’s flyout to the warning track in the second inning which goes to show just how masterful Wacha was.
Following his 111th pitch, Moran’s single, Wacha was removed from the game as the crowd of 44,432 gave the 26-year-old a standing ovation. Fireballer Jordyn Hicks came in and finished off the Pirates, who were down 5-0 as a result of Marcell Ozuna’s grand slam in the first inning off of Nick Kingham (who took a perfect game into the seventh inning during his MLB debut) and Yario Munez’s RBI single in the eighth.
If Wacha had completed the no-hitter, it would have been the 4th of the 2018 season following Sean Manaea’s gem against the Red Sox, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ combined no-no against the Padres in Mexico, and James Paxton’s masterpiece against the Blue Jays.
With their win against their division rivals, the Cardinals have now improved their record to 32-25 with a .561 win-loss percentage. The Cardinals are third in the National League Central division and are 3.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers for the division lead.