Michael Wacha and rest of the Cardinals young pitchers force the series back to St. Louis
There's no need to burying the lede here. Cardinals starter Michael Wacha, who in his last start was just one out away from a no-hitter, came very close to a no-hitter yet again. He went 7 1/3 innings before giving up a hit. We'll get to that hit in a minute.
Even thought Wacha was pitching brilliantly, the Cardinals were having trouble putting runs on the board off Pirates starter Charlie Morton. Morton wasn't quite as brilliant as Wacha, but he was still putting up zeros on the scoreboard. That is, until the 6th, when Matt Holliday connected for a 2 run homer to give St. Louis the lead.
With the Cardinals ahead now, more attention was paid to Wacha. In the 8th though, the 22 year old finally blinked, losing the no-hitter and the shutout on an absolute blast by Pedro Alvarez.
Wacha would walk Russell Martin next. That would be his final batter, and he gave up to Carlos Martinez, who's been almost forgotten among the Cardinals armada. Martinez's job got a lot easier when pinch runner Josh Harrison was thrown out trying to steal second, thanks to the earliest slide since Willie Mays Hayes early in Major League. Martinez struck out Jose Tabata to end the inning.
In the 9th, the Cardinals turned to their new closer, Trevor Rosenthal, he of the 100 mph fastball. He got the first two batters no problem, but then walked Neil Walker, bringing up Andrew McCutchen. With the anticipation sky high, Rosenthal got McCutchen to pop-up, ending the game and sending the series back to St. Louis.
The Cardinals will turn to Game 1 starter and ace Adam Wainwright in Game 5 Wednesday night. The Pirates are likely to go with Gerrit Cole, the Game 2 hero. AJ Burnett would be waiting in the wings if something goes wrong. In theory, anyway.