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.
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.
Aaron Judge may be the talk of the town right now, but let’s not forget some of Major League Baseball’s more established sluggers. Take the Nationals’ Bryce Harper, for instance, who jumped on a full count during the first inning of Saturday’s game and postmarked the ball to the center field concourse in Chase Field.
Harper’s mammoth hit was the first career home run allowed by Diamondbacks’ rookie Anthony Banda. Banda quickly recovered with an inning-ending strikeout to Ryan Zimmerman, but was booted from his big league debut after Harper, Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon combined for a three-run spread in the sixth.
The first-inning homer also served another purpose: it extended Harper’s hitting streak to 15 games, the longest current streak in MLB this season. He’ll need four more games to tie the 19-game streak Royals’ infielder/outfielder Whit Merrifield established back in June.
The Nationals currently lead the Diamondbacks 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Rangers’ right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez is slated for Tommy John surgery, according to a report by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Gonzalez was placed on the 60-day disabled list back in early April with a partial UCL tear and was working towards a throwing program before getting sidelined with more elbow pain. He’s expected to miss the entirety of the 2018 season while recovering from the surgery.
This is the second straight season that has been derailed for Gonzalez due to injury. The 25-year-old starter pitched just 10 1/3 innings in 2016 after recovering from a torn UCL, and was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to finish out the year after compiling an 8.71 ERA, 7.8 BB/9 and 6.1 SO/9 in three starts with the club. He showed more promise in Triple-A with a 4.70 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 5.9 SO/9 through 24 starts and 138 innings.
It’s a tough blow for the Rangers, who have seen Gonzalez healthy in just one major league season to date. General manager Jon Daniels told reporters that a recent MRI showed signs of weakening in the ligament, which disrupted the team’s plans to have the right-hander stick to a six- to eight-week recovery timetable after getting a platelet-rich plasma injection (via Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). The surgery is expected to take place next week and will put Gonzalez’s earliest return date sometime in September 2018.