The Pittsburgh Pirates were one game away from eliminating the St. Louis Cardinals from the NLDS, but an almost perfect performance from Michael Wacha would put things on hold. The Cards picked up a 2-1 victory at PNC Park on Monday to force a deciding Game 5.
Wacha was the story of the game, as he was practically lights out during his performance. In fact, he retired the first 15 batters he faced to carry a perfect game into the sixth inning. It was by far the best performance that has been seen in the postseason to this point.
While it wasn't a high-scoring game, Matt Holliday was the offensive hero. In the top of the sixth, Carlos Beltran led off with a walk. Holliday then stepped up and belted a 2-2 fastball over the center field wall for a two-run homer. It was a big one, and it proved to be all they needed.
Wacha tried to come unraveled in the bottom of the sixth. His perfect game went out the door with a leadoff walk to Russell Martin. It was the only blemish on his night until he got into the eighth and ran into trouble. After striking out Marlon Byrd, Wacha fell behind to Martin with a 3-1 count. On the fifth pitch of the at-bat, Martin ended the no-hit bit and the shutout with a solo home run. Unable to settle down, he then walked Martin a second time. That would end his night, after what had been a dominant performance.
He picks up the win, going 7 and 1/3 innings, striking out nine and giving up the only run Pittsburgh could scratch out on the home run. Not a bad night for the 21-year old, who flirted with history in his postseason debut.
The fifth and final game of the series will shift back to St. Louis on Wednesday night, as Adam Wainwright will will try to get the Cardinals into the NLCS. He will be opposed by Gerrit Cole, who helped Pittsburgh win Game 2 of the series. First pitch of Game 5 is set for 8:00 P.M. Eastern and will be on TBS. The winner of this game will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.