ST. LOUIS — It’s been more than a decade since Bud Smith threw the tenth and last no-hitter in St. Louis Cardinals history. On Tuesday night at Busch Stadium, Cardinals rookie right-hander Michael Wacha was one out and an infield single away from throwing the eleventh.
Wacha gave up the lone National’s hit to Ryan Zimmerman, who narrowly beat out a bare-handed effort from shortstop Pete Kozma that pulled Matt Adams off of the first base bag.
After exiting to a standing ovation and watching Trevor Rosenthal enter and record the final out, the 22-year old, drafted just last year out of Texas A&M, waited patiently while manager Mike Matheny addressed the media.
“Wow,” the second-year manager said of his rookie pitcher, appearing nearly speechless.
“He was able to tune everything out,” Matheny said.
“For a kid to do that, against a lineup like this, during this time of the season…hard to really get your head around it. But…that was some kind of fun to watch.”
For a player who was so close to history, Wacha didn’t seem fazed over so narrowly missing out on what he says would have been his first no-hitter at any level of baseball.
“The whole goal going out tonight was to get a win for the ballclub and stay in first place,” he told reporters. “I was able to do that out there today, and it was a pretty fun night.”
The 38,940 in attendance at Busch Stadium groaned when Zimmerman arrived safely at first base and the first Nationals hit of the night went up on the scoreboard.
Wacha seemed to brush it off pretty easily.
“I guess it just wasn’t my night.”
Looking back, 38,940 fans would probably disagree.