St. Louis rookie Mike Wacha pitched one-hit baseball for the second consecutive game on Monday afternoon, this time at the expense of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Cardinals evened their best-of-five National League Division series with the Pirates at two games apiece with a 2-1 victory at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
Wacha, who missed a no-hitter by one out in his final regular season start, allowed only a one-out home run to Pedro Alvarez. He struck out nine batters and walked two. Wacha was lifted after the homer for another rookie, Carlos Martinez. Trevor Rosenthal pitched the ninth inning, and recorded the save.
Pirate pitchers, meanwhile, allowed only three hits, but one was a two-run home run by the Cardinals’ Matt Holliday off Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton in the sixth inning which made the difference in the game. Holliday and Pete Kozma both singled.
Morton worked 5-and-two-third innings, allowing both runs and all three hits, striking out four batters and walking four. Vin Mazzaro, Justin Wilson and Mark Melancon provided 3-and-a-third innings of no-hit relief, combining for five strikeouts.
The deciding game of the series will be played Wednesday night in St. Louis with the revised start time now set for 8:07 PM (EDT).
The series winner will face the Los Angeles Dodgers, beginning Friday, in the National League Championship Series. The Dodgers finished a 3-games-to-1 NLDS victory over Atlanta on Monday with a 4-3 win in game four.
In the American League, Tampa Bay extended their series with Boston as the Rays’ Jose Lobaton provided a walkoff home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. Boston leads 2-games-to-1, and game four will be played in St. Petersburg on Tuesday night. And, Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick and Seth Smith all homered to pace Oakland past Detroit 6-3. The A’s lead 2-games-to-1, and can win the series with a victory in Detroit on Tuesday.