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A strike away: Mikolas just short of no-hitter for Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Miles Mikolas (39) watches as his no-hitter is broken up...
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Miles Mikolas (39) watches as his no-hitter is broken up by a ground-rule double by Pittsburgh Pirates' Cal Mitchell during the ninth inning in the second game of a baseball doubleheader Tuesday, June 14, 2022, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)(Scott Kane | AP)
Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 10:25 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Miles Mikolas was one strike from a no-hitter when he gave up a double to Cal Mitchell with two outs in the ninth inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals routed the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-1 to sweep a doubleheader Tuesday night.

Mitchell drove a 2-2 curveball over the head of Gold Glove center fielder Harrison Bader and just beyond his outstretched mitt as he tried to make a running catch with his back-to-home plate.

The ball bounced on the warning track 383 feet from the plate and over the wall in straightaway center for a ground-rule double.

“I’m a little over it. I mean it stinks, to get that close and then kind of come up empty-handed,” Mikolas said. “I mean, that’s a great outing. I’ll be real proud that I gave the bullpen kind of another night off. I know we need it with the doubleheader. I’m happy, but deep down it kind of stinks.”

The hit came on the 129th pitch from Mikolas (5-4), a career-high. He was lifted right after that for Packy Naughton, who got the final out to hand the Pirates their ninth straight loss.

The 33-year-old Mikolas bent over at the waist for a moment when Mitchell’s drive dropped. He struck out six, walked one and left to a standing ovation.

“I guess he got a little more barrel to it than I thought and that ball, he back-spun it I guess,” Mikolas said. “That ball kind of took off, kind of deep center I guess. Yeah, I mean, that’s a good down-and-away pitch. I just looked at it again. I mean, really can’t be upset. I guess you’ve got to tip your cap to that guy over there.”

The most recent no-hitter for the Cardinals was thrown by rookie Bud Smith in a 4-0 win at San Diego on Sept. 3, 2001. The last one at home came from Bob Forsch in 1983.

Pittsburgh got an unearned run in the fourth to make it 7-1 when Bryan Reynolds scored on Daniel Vogelbach’s groundout.

Reynolds led off the inning and reached second base when left fielder Juan Yepez misplayed a fly ball for an error. Reynolds advanced to third on a groundout.

Cardinals second baseman Nolan Gorman made a diving stop in the fourth and an off-balance throw from the middle of the diamond in the sixth to prevent would-be hits.

Mikolas worked a 1-2-3 seventh with the help of a nice catch by Bader at the center-field fence on Jack Suwinski’s drive. Pittsburgh also went down in order in the eighth.

Paul Goldschmidt homered twice and drove in five runs for the Cardinals, who have won five of six. Tommy Edman also went deep and Brendan Donovan had his first career four-hit game.

Bryse Wilson (0-4) gave up seven runs in five innings for the Pirates.

Goldschmidt homered and drove in three runs as St. Louis won the opener of the day-night doubleheader 3-1.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Pirates: RHP Duane Underwood Jr. was placed on COVID-19 injured list Monday.

Cardinals: LHP Steven Matz (left shoulder impingement) received an injection in his AC joint after playing catch and plans to throw again on flat ground Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Cardinals RHP Jack Flaherty (right shoulder) will make his season debut in Wednesday night’s series finale rather than make a third minor league rehabilitation start. He is expected to have a limit of about 60 pitches. RHP Roansy Contreras (1-1-, 2.57) pitches for Pittsburgh.

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