Michael Wacha lost a no-hit bid in the ninth inning when pinch-hitter Colin Moran led off with a single, leaving to a huge ovation and pitching the St. Louis Cardinals past the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-0 Sunday.
This was the second time Wacha had a no-hit try broken up in the ninth. As a rookie in 2013, he was one out away from a no-hitter when Washington's Ryan Zimmerman got an infield single.
Wacha (7-1) came close to pitching the fourth no-hitter in the major leagues this season. He was in total control, striking out eight and walking two while mixing his fastball, curve and changeup.
Wacha retired the first 13 batters, and the closest the Pirates had come to a hit was Josh Bell's flyout to the warning track in the second inning until the ninth. Moran fouled off the first three pitches before the Pirates rookie lined a clean single well over the head of second baseman Kolten Wong into right field.
That was all for Wacha, and the 26-year-old righty was pulled after 111 pitches — 119 is his career high. The crowd of 44,432 at Busch Stadium stood as Wacha walked off, and he received hugs from his teammates in the dugout.
Reliever Jordan Hicks gave up one hit while getting the last three outs.
Marcell Ozuna hit a grand slam on the eighth pitch of the game from Nick Kingham (2-2). In April, Kingham took a perfect game into the seventh inning against St. Louis in his big league debut before it was broken up.
The Cardinals have won three of four. Pittsburgh has lost three of four.
Wacha has allowed two runs or less in his last nine starts. He was the MVP of the 2013 NL Championship Series and an All-Star in 2015 before he was slowed by injuries. He made only had 24 starts in 20016 because of a shoulder inflammation.
The Cardinals haven't pitched a no-hitter since rookie Bud Smith did it at San Diego in 2001.
There already have been three no-nos this year. Oakland's Sean Manaea began baseball's no-hit parade with a gem against Boston on April 21, four Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers combined to blank San Diego on May 4, and Seattle's James Paxton threw one against Toronto on May 8.