Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Michael Wacha loses bid for no-hitter in ninth inning

4 Comments

Update (4:32 PM ET): After the Cardinals added a run in the bottom of the eighth, Wacha lost his no-hitter to the first batter in the top of the ninth inning. Colin Moran lined a single to right field. Matheny took Wacha out of the game at that point, having thrown 111 pitches.

*

Update (4:09 PM ET): Wacha struck out David Freese, then got Gregory Polanco and Sean Rodriguez to ground out in the eighth inning. He’s at 107 pitches with the no-hit bid in tact. The last time Wacha threw 107 or more pitches in a start was on July 18 last year in a shutout against the Mets.

*

Cardinals starter Michael Wacha has held the Pirates hitless through seven innings of Sunday’s home start. He has thrown 95 pitches, walking two and striking out six.

The Cardinals have scored four runs in support of Wacha, all coming on Marcell Ozuna‘s grand slam in the bottom of the first inning off of Nick Kingham.

We have seen three no-hitters already this season from Sean Manaea and James Paxton, as well as a combined no-hitter from Walker Buehler and the Dodgers’ bullpen. A Cardinals pitcher hasn’t thrown a no-hitter since Bud Smith against the Padres on September 3, 2001. The Pirates were last victims of a no-hitter on June 20, 2015 against the Nationals’ Max Scherzer.

We’ll keep you updated as Wacha attempts to get through the final two innings without giving up a hit. The Cardinals have adhered pretty closely to a pitch limit for Wacha, removing him around 100 pitches in most of his 11 starts this season. Sunday’s start is the first time he got out of the seventh inning this season, in fact. It will be interesting to see if manager Mike Matheny sticks to the plan or lets Wacha rack up more pitches in pursuit of the no-no.

Astros claim AL pennant with walk-off win against the Yankees

Astros
AP Images
10 Comments

Following a rollercoaster performance on Saturday, the Astros clinched the American League Championship Series with a decisive 6-4 walk-off win against the Yankees, claiming their second AL pennant and earning a well-deserved entrance to the World Series.

Both clubs decided to preserve possible Game 7 starters Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole, electing to have a “bullpen day” for a pivotal Game 6. Chad Green took the mound for the Yankees, tossing one inning before handing the ball off to a long line of relievers, while Brad Peacock‘s rare playoff start was capped at 1 2/3 innings. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that made it the first postseason game since 1999 in which neither starting pitcher lasted two innings or longer.

All told, the two clubs utilized a total of 13 pitchers to make it through nine innings. The Astros lost Ryan Pressly to a worrisome knee injury in the third, but were able to lean on José Urquidy for 2 2/3 innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball. Although Yankees’ bullpen fought back in every inning, they had considerable difficulty recovering from Yuli Gurriel‘s three-run homer off of Green in the bottom of the first:

Still, New York managed to get in a couple of knocks as well: first, with Gary Sanchez‘s RBI single in the second inning, then with Gio Urshela‘s 395-foot blast in the fourth inning — the second of his postseason career to date. That wasn’t enough to close the gap, however, and Alex Bregman‘s productive groundout in the sixth helped cushion the Astros’ lead as they headed toward the final few innings of the series.

That lead started to look a little shaky in the ninth. Only three outs away from a ticket to the World Series, Houston closer Roberto Osuna gave up a leadoff single to Urshela, which was quickly followed by a jaw-dropping, full-count, game-tying two-run shot from DJ LeMahieu that barely cleared the right field fence.

With the threat of extra innings and a potential loss looming, the Astros engineered a last-minute rally to regain the lead and stake their claim for the pennant. With two outs and no runners on, George Springer took a five-pitch walk from Aroldis Chapman. In the next at-bat, Houston pinned their hopes on José Altuve — and he didn’t disappoint, lifting a 2-1 slider out to left field for a 406-foot, two-RBI homer that confirmed the Astros’ series win.

The 2019 World Series will mark the third Fall Classic appearance for the Astros and the first for the Nationals. It all begins on Tuesday night.