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Cards’ Wacha loses no-hitter in 9th

No joke

Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha lost his no-hit bid on Ryan Zimmerman’s infield single with two outs in the ninth inning, and St. Louis beat the Nationals 2-0 Tuesday night in Washington to close in on the NL Central title.

Making his ninth career start, Wacha came about as close as possible to finishing off the third no-hitter in the majors this season. Instead, he became the third pitcher to have a bid broken up with one out to go.

Zimmerman hit a chopper just over Wacha’s glove – he said he thought it nicked his mitt – and the ball bounced slowly toward shortstop. A charging Pete Kozma grabbed it with his bare hand and whipped a throw to first that was a little wide, pulling Matt Adams off the bag just as Zimmerman arrived.

Pirates 8, Cubs 2: Gerrit Cole threw six strong innings, and Pittsburgh took over the NL wild-card lead with a win at Wrigley Field.

The Pirates moved one game ahead of Cincinnati, which lost to the Mets 4-2. Pittsburgh remained two games behind St. Louis in the NL Central.

Cole won his fourth straight start and also hit a two-run single, while Pedro Alvarez drove in three runs and Jordy Mercer homered.

Indians 5, White Sox 4: Pinch-hitter Jason Giambi belted a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth to keep the Indians up with the lead pack in the AL wild-card race.

Giambi’s 10th career walk-off homer, and his second pinch-hit, walk-off this season, prevented a potentially devastating loss for the Indians, who are looking for their first postseason berth since 2007.

Bryan Shaw (6-3) came in after Perez had nearly given away a game the Indians couldn’t afford to lose.

With the Indians leading 3-2, Perez gave up a homer to Dayan Viciedo, a shot into the right-field seats that drew a groan from Cleveland fans the moment it left his bat. Perez struck out the next two hitters, but Alejandro De Aza connected on his next pitch, driving it over the wall in right-center.

Cleveland came in holding the second AL wild-card spot, one game ahead of Texas and one behind Tampa Bay.

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