Cards rookie Wacha falls one out shy of no-hitter

The 6-foot-6 Michael Wacha wishes he was just one inch taller.

Wacha was one out away from a no-hitter in the St. Louis Cardinals' 2-0 win over the Washington Nationals in the middle test of a three-game set.

With two outs in the ninth, Ryan Zimmerman chopped one just over the pitcher's mound and outstretched glove of the tall and lengthy Wacha. The hard-charging Pete Kozma at shortstop was unable to make the bare-handed play as his throw to first pushed Matt Adams off the bag.

"It tipped off his glove and slowed it down," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "I don't think he was tagged at all ... I don't think it would've beat him anyway."

Making his ninth career start, Wacha (4-1) became the third pitcher -- the Texas Rangers' Yu Darvish and the San Francisco Giants' Yusmeiro Petit -- this season to have a no-hit bid broken up with one out to go.

"I guess it just wasn't to be," Wacha said.

The Cincinnati Reds' Homer Bailey and the San Francisco Giants' Tim Lincecum are the only two pitchers to toss no-hitters this season after six hurlers accomplished the feat in 2012. Six Seattle Mariners pitchers also combined for a no-hitter last season.

Wacha was attempting to become the 11th St. Louis pitcher and first since Bud Smith in 2001 to spin the trick. Smith fired a no-no in his 11th career start.

"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. Man, that was some kind of fun to watch," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.

The 22-year-old fanned nine and walked two over 8 2/3 innings for the Cardinals, who are two games ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates for first place in the NL Central.

St. Louis is one-half game behind the Atlanta Braves for the National League's best record.

Trevor Rosenthal picked up the final out in the ninth to tally his second save of the year.

Wacha's leadoff walk in the seventh got Matt Carpenter off the hook. Carpenter committed a fielding error with two outs in the fifth when Adam LaRoche grounded a ball between his legs for Washington's first base runner.

Using his devastating fastball-chanegup combination, Wacha fired 77 of his 112 pitches for strikes.

Gio Gonzalez (8-11) struck out six but allowed two runs on six hits for Washington, which was eliminated from playoff contention following Monday's 4-3 loss to St. Louis.

The Cardinals plated a run apiece in the third and fourth frames to jump ahead.

Carpenter smacked a two-out double into left center in the third and scored on Shane Robinson's base hit up the middle. Yadier Molina's RBI double in the fourth made it 2-0.

Game Notes

The last two no-hitters in Cardinals history have come from rookies. Jose Jimenez fired one in 1999 ... St. Louis was 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position.