PITTSBURGH - Michael Wacha didn't quite etch his name into the baseball history books, but he did keep his team's season alive.
The rookie right-hander took a no-hitter in the eighth inning and allowed only one hit in 7 1/3 innings to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday afternoon in Game 4 of their National League Division Series at PNC Park.
The Cardinals evened the best-of-five series at two games apiece. The decisive Game 5 will be played Wednesday at St. Louis.
Wacha was magnificent, mixing in a devastating changeup with a mid-90s fastball. The Pirates did not even hit many balls hard until Pedro Alvarez belted a 438-foot home run, his third of the series, to center field with one out in the eighth inning to draw the Pirates within a run at 2-1.
Wacha was lifted one batter later after walking Russell Martin with the Cardinals clinging to a 2-1 lead. Martin also drew a walk to lead off the sixth inning to end Wacha's perfect-game bid.
Carlos Martinez got the final two outs of the inning to preserve the one-run lead, aided by catcher Yadier Molina, who threw out pinch-runner Josh Harrison trying to steal second base. Trevor Rosenthal pitched a scoreless ninth for the save.
Wacha wound up allowing just the one run and one hit in 7 1/3 innings while striking out nine and walking two.
Wacha nearly became the third pitcher in major-league history to throw a no-hitter in postseason play.
The last one was in 2010 by Philadelphia's Roy Halladay against the Cincinnati Reds in Game 1 of their NLDS. The New York Yankees' Don Larsen threw a perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series.
Wacha also flirted with a no-hitter Sept. 24 in his last start of the regular season, giving up a two-out single in the ninth inning to the Washington Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
During the regular season, Wacha was 4-1 with a 2.78 ERA in 15 regular-season games, including nine starts.
St. Louis' Matt Holliday hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning, a towering 417-foot shot to center field that broke up Pirates starter Charlie Morton's shutout bid. Morton gave up two runs and three hits in 5 2/3 innings with four walks and four strikeouts.
Holliday had two of the Cardinals' three hits as Vin Mazzaro, Justin Wilson, Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli combined for 3 1/3 innings of hitless relief for the Pirates.
NOTES: Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals' scheduled starter for Game 5, beat the Pirates in Game 1, holding them to one run and three hits in seven innings. In the regular season, the left-hander led the NL in wins as he was 19-9 with a 2.94 ERA in 34 starts. ... Rookie RHP Gerrit Cole is likely to get the call over veteran RHP A.J. Burnett for the Pirates. Cole held the Cardinals to one run and two hits in six innings in Game 2 after Burnett was rocked for seven runs in two-plus innings in Game 1, raising his career ERA at Busch Stadium to 15.50 in five starts.