Led by Michael Wacha, who threw 7.1 no-hit innings before allowing a homerun to Pedro Alvarez, the Cardinals avoided elimination by beating the Pirates 2-1 this afternoon. Rookies Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal finished off the Pirates from there to send the teams back to St. Louis for game 5.
This is the second straight game where Wacha has flirted with a no-hitter, after pitching 8.2 innings of no-hit ball in his last regular season start. He will almost assuredly be given a start should the Cardinals advance to the NLCS.
Matt Holliday provided the only Cardinals offense with a two-run homer in the 6th and the rookies made it stand up, limiting the Pirates to the lone hit while walking three and striking out 11.
If you haven't figured it out by now, Wacha has a chance to be a special pitcher. His changeup is downright nasty and he backs that up with a 95+ mph fastball. If he ever develops a consistent third pitch, he could be a perennial Cy Young contender.
The Cardinals and Pirates will now square off one last time on Wednesday to decide the series.
Adam Wainwright will get the ball for the Cards, while A.J. Burnett seemed like the likely choice for the Pirates. However, after his struggles in game one and Gerrit Cole's dominance in game 2, Clint Hurdle elected to go with Cole in game 5.
It should be another barn burner for the Cardinals and Pirates.