Posted September 24, 2013 on AP on Fox
Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha lost his no-hit bid on Ryan Zimmerman's infield single with two outs in the ninth inning, and St. Louis beat the Washington Nationals 2-0 Tuesday night to close in on the NL Central title. Making his ninth career start, Wacha came about as close as possible to finishing off the third no-hitter in the majors this season. Instead, he became the third pitcher to have a bid broken up with one out to go. Zimmerman hit a chopper just over Wacha's glove -- the pitcher said he thought it nicked his mitt -- and the ball bounced slowly toward shortstop. A charging Pete Kozma grabbed it with his bare hand and whipped a throw to first that was a little wide, pulling Matt Adams off the bag just as Zimmerman arrived. The crowd at Busch Stadium let out a loud, collective groan. Third baseman David Freese sat crouched in the infield, stunned at how close his 22-year-old teammate had come. Wacha (4-1) was pulled after Zimmerman's hit and walked off to a huge ovation from disappointed fans who were standing throughout the ninth inning. The right-hander struck out nine and walked two. "I guess I wasn't meant to throw one tonight," Wacha said. Trevor Rosenthal got Jayson Werth to ground out for his second save. Wacha retired pinch-hitter Steve Lombardozzi on a grounder to Kozma to begin the ninth, then threw a called third strike past Denard Span. Zimmerman was up next, and he spoiled it for Wacha. Texas' Yu Darvish lost a perfect game with two outs in the ninth against Houston on April 2 and San Francisco's Yusmeiro Petit had his try at perfection end one out shy against Arizona on Sept 6. Cincinnati's Homer Bailey and the Giants' Tim Lincecum threw no-hitters this season. The last two no-hitters by St. Louis pitchers came from rookies -- Bud Smith in 2001 and Jose Jimenez in 1999.
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