There was a loud gasp at PNC Park when Carlos Beltran belted a ball earmarked for the right-center field gap with two outs in the seventh inning.
Just like that, A.J. Burnett's push for the second no-hitter of his career was dashed.
Instead, he settled for another close call.
Burnett tossed seven scoreless innings of one-hit ball in the Pittsburgh Pirates' 5-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the finale of a rain- shortened two-game set.
Beltran's double in the seventh came on Burnett's 96th pitch of the game. Burnett's only other blemish was a hit batsman. He struck out eight.
"My goal every time out is to throw a no-hitter," Burnett said. "I know they are major league hitters that I'm facing and I respect them, but my job is not to give up hits."
Burnett (1-2), who tallied his 2,000th career strikeout, fired his first no- hitter nearly 12 years ago. While with the Florida Marlins, he recorded a wild nine-walk no-no against the San Diego Padres on May 12, 2001.
The 36-year-old took a no-hitter into the eight inning against the Chicago Cubs last season before pinch-hitter Adrian Cardenas lined a two-out single to right.
There have been six no-hitters in Pirates history, the last a combined 10- inning no-no against the Houston Astros in 1997.
Andrew McCutchen was 2-for-4 with two runs scored for Pittsburgh, which has won six of its last eight games.
Shelby Miller (2-1) allowed two runs on six hits and a walk for the Cardinals, who had won five of their last six contests coming in.
"It was a well-pitched game on both sides," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Their guy was just a little bit better."
The Pirates opened the scoring in the first and tacked on runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth frames.
Starling Marte led off the first with a triple to right and Travis Snider brought him home when he fisted a bloop single into shallow right-center.
Neil Walker recorded a two-out RBI single back up the middle in the sixth and Russell Martin, who began the seventh with a base hit, scored with two outs when David Freese committed a throwing error on Marte's grounder.
Gaby Sanchez tallied an RBI double and Pedro Alvarez added a run-scoring single in the eighth to make it 5-0.
Burnett was the losing pitcher of MLB's most recent no-hitter against Homer Bailey of the Cincinnati Reds in September ... The Pirates were 4-for-9 with runners in scoring position.