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Baseball

Wacha one out shy of no-no

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 Washington Nationals, 2-0, last night 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 – the pitcher 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.

METS 4, REDS 2

Daniel Murphy hit a three-run homer off Mike Leake, whose long streak of scoreless innings got shattered early, and the Mets dealt the Reds a costly setback to their hopes of a second straight NL Central title.

The Reds and Pirates clinched playoff spots on Monday night, but hope to chase down first-place St. Louis with closing surges. Leake’s one very bad inning made that much less likely for Cincinnati.

Pirates 8, Cubs 2

Gerrit Cole threw six strong innings and Pittsburgh took over the NL wild-card lead.

Cole hit a two-run single, Pedro Alvarez drove in three runs and Jordy Mercer homered. Cole (10-7) won his fourth straight start, giving up two runs and seven hits. He struck out six and walked one.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Rays 7, Yankees 0

Matt Moore had New York flailing for five wild innings, and Tampa Bay beat the Yankees to push them to the brink of missing out on the postseason for the second time in 19 years.

Tampa Bay roughed up Hiroki Kuroda in tightening its grip on an AL wild-card spot with its fifth straight win. Matt Joyce had a leadoff homer as the Rays jumped ahead 3-0 in the first and David DeJesus had two RBI doubles.

The Yankees trail the Indians, who won 5-4, by five games – and also are behind the Rangers and Royals. The Yankees would be eliminated tonight if Cleveland wins and they lose.

INDIANS 5, WHITE SOX 4

Pinch-hitter Jason Giambi belted a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning to give Cleveland a stunning win over the White Sox, keeping the Indians up with the lead pack in the AL wild-card race.

Giambi drove a 1-1 pitch from Addison Reed (5-4) into the lower deck in right field to save the Indians from a potentially devastating loss.

BLUE JAYS 3, ORIOLES 2, 10 inn.

Toronto eliminated Baltimore from the playoff hunt, using two clutch RBI singles by Mark DeRosa to beat the Orioles.

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