PITTSBURGH – Rookie Michael Wacha took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning and the St. Louis Cardinals showed off their October poise, edging the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 Monday and setting up a winner-take-all Game 5 Wednesday in the N.L. division series.
The Cardinals tied this playoff matchup and improved to 7-1 the last three years when facing elimination in the postseason.
Pedro Alvarez hit his third home run of the series, connecting with one out in the eighth for Pittsburgh’s only hit.
Wacha, who came within an out of a no-hitter in his final start of the regular season, and the St. Louis bullpen made Matt Holliday’s two-run homer in the sixth stand up in Game 4.
Trevor Rosenthal worked around a two-out walk in the ninth, retiring Andrew McCutchen on a popup for his first postseason save.
Game 5 will be in St. Louis, with ace Adam Wainwright starting for the N.L. Central champion Cardinals and rookie Gerrit Cole for the wild-card Pirates. Both won last week in the NLDS.
The Cardinals finished with only three hits, but that was enough. Holliday got two of them, including his homer off Charlie Morton.
Wacha struck out nine and walked two. The 22-year-old righty didn’t permit a runner until walking Russell Martin leading off the sixth.
Wacha struck out five of the first seven batters.