Michael Wacha loses no-hitter with one out to go

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We’re on the verge of history at Busch Stadium.

Making good use of his vicious changeup and high-90s fastball, Cardinals rookie right-hander Michael Wacha has no-hit the visiting Washington Nationals through the top of the seventh inning. The Cardinals will carry a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the frame.

Wacha has yielded just two baserunners — the first on a booted groundball by second baseman Matt Carpenter and the second on a Ryan Zimmerman walk to open the seventh inning. We’ll provide regular updates as the 22-year-old tries to finish this off. He has only thrown 86 pitches to this point and needs just six more outs.

Bud Smith, also a rookie at the time, threw the last Cardinals no-hitter back in 2001.

The Nats were eliminated from the playoffs on Monday but trotted out their standard lineup.

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UPDATE, 10:11 p.m. ET: Wacha surrendered a leadoff walk to Adam LaRoche in the top of the eighth but induced a double play groundball from Wilson Ramos. Anthony Rendon then flew out to left field. Wacha has only three outs left — he’s at 99 pitches — and the Cards lead 2-0 heading to the bottom of the eighth.

UPDATE, 10:24 p.m. ET: Wacha got an easy groundout to short from pinch-hitter Steve Lombardozzi to open the top of the ninth and then struck out Denard Span for the second out. The third batter of the inning, Ryan Zimmerman, hit a bouncer that went over Wacha’s head. Pete Kozma tried to field it quickly and make the throw but wound up pulling first baseman Matt Adams off the bag. It was ruled an infield hit for Zimmerman and Wacha was pulled immediately after. Trevor Rosenthal closed out the 2-0 win.

Martin Maldonado and Willson Contreras say they’re willing to pay fines rather than follow new mound visit rule

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On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.

Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”

Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.