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 N.L. 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.
Clearing the bases
Orioles third baseman Manny Machado got some good news: He has a torn ligament in his left knee and could be running again six to eight weeks because his ACL and MCL ligaments are fine. An MRI revealed Machado has a torn medial patellofemoral ligament. The Orioles hope he can recover without having surgery. The Orioles feared Machado tore his ACL, which would have kept him sidelined into the 2014 season. … Indians All-Star starter Justin Masterson will return from an injury and pitch in relief during the team’s playoff push. With Cleveland fighting for a postseason spot, Masterson, sidelined with a strained oblique muscle since Sept. 2, will join the Indians’ bullpen. Manager Terry Francona said the right-hander could appear in a game as early as today. Masterson is 14-10 with a 3.52 ERA.