Wacha flirts with no-no, Cardinals stay alive
Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The St. Louis Cardinals continued an old habit of staying alive with their backs to the wall, thanks to Michael Wacha coming up huge in the biggest game of his young career.
The rookie took a no-hitter into the eighth in a stellar 7 1/3-inning, nine- strikeout performance that led the Cardinals to a season-saving 2-1 decision over the Pittsburgh Pirates in Game 4 of the National League Division Series.
Wacha (1-0), who came within an out of no-hitting Washington in his final regular-season start on Sept. 24, had his bid broken up by Pedro Alvarez's solo homer that cut Pittsburgh's deficit to 2-1. The 2012 first-round pick then put the tying run aboard by walking Russell Martin, but the Cardinals got big efforts from two other kid pitchers to take the series back to Busch Stadium for Wednesday's deciding Game 5.
Fellow rookie Carlos Martinez protected the one-run edge in the eighth before 23-year-old Trevor Rosenthal closed it out with a scoreless ninth.
The Cardinals, who received an MLB-best 36 victories from rookie hurlers en route to the NL Central title, are now 7-1 in postseason elimination games over the past three years.
St. Louis survived despite managing just three hits, but one was a homer from Matt Holliday off Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton that broke a scoreless deadlock in the top of the sixth. Holliday had a single earlier in the contest.
Morton (0-1) lasted 5 2/3 innings, surrendering all three hits and walking four.
10/07 17:54:12 ET