With their team teetering on the brink of elimination Monday afternoon, rookie right-hander Michael Wacha and slugger Matt Holliday stepped forward in Game 4 of the NLDS and led the St. Louis Cardinals to a 2-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. The Cardinals prevented the Pirates from winning a postseason series for the first time since the 1979 World Series.
Wacha was perfect until allowing a leadoff walk to Russell Martin in the bottom of the sixth, and had a no-hitter going until Pedro Alvarez took him well over the fence in right-center for a solo homer with one out in the eighth. Wacha was trying to become the third pitcher in history to throw a no-hitter in the playoffs. In his final start of the regular season, Wacha came within one out of a no-hitter against the Washington Nationals.
Alvarez's home run also spoiled the shutout, but Wacha still had a lead because of Holliday's home run to center against Charlie Morton in the sixth.
Yadier Molina caught pinch-runner Josh Harrison trying to steal second base in the bottom of the eighth.
Right-hander Carlos Martinez, another 22-year-old who took the loss in Game 3, replaced Wacha and struck out pinch-hitter Jose Tabata in the eighth.
Harrison's slide on his caught stealing looked a lot like that of Willie Mays Hayes in "Major League" when he stopped well short of second base.
The last out. You never know with the Pirates, those scalawags, but Cards closer Trevor Rosenthal got Andrew McCutchen to fly out with a runner aboard in the ninth.
Only Don Larsen, with his perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, and Roy Halladay, in Game 1 of the NLDS in 2010, have pitched no-no's in the playoffs.
After a day off, the series resumes at Busch Stadium for Game 5 on Wednesday. Ace Adam Wainwright is scheduled to face rookie Gerrit Cole — and not A.J. Burnett.