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 the speedy Bader 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. “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 — his previous career high was 115 on May 29 against Milwaukee. 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 (5-4) 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.
Mitchell entered in the seventh to play right field and got Pittsburgh’s lone hit in his only at-bat of the game.
“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 was 4 for 4 with two homers and five RBIs 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 off JT Brubaker (0-7) and drove in three runs as St. Louis won 3-1 in the opener of the day-night doubleheader.
Yadier Molina had 11 putouts on 10 strikeouts and a foul popup, and with 14,870 passed Iván Rodríguez (14,864) for most among catchers in major league history. The 39-year-old, a 10-time All-Star, was given a standing ovation with the record-setter when he caught Ke’Bryan Hayes’ sixth-inning popup.
Pittsburgh committed four errors, three by shortstop Diego Castillo — including bad throws on grounders on consecutive pitches. He had just two errors coming in.
Matthew Liberatore (2-1) allowed three hits in five scoreless innings, striking out five and walking two in his fourth big league start. The 22-year-old left-hander, pulled after 79 pitches, has pitched shutout ball in both his wins, the first against Milwaukee on May 28.
Giovanny Gallegos worked a one-hit ninth for his ninth save in 12 chances, finishing a seven-hitter.
Yu Chang homered for Pittsburgh off Génesis Cabrera in the seventh.
WELCOME TO THE SHOW
Canaan Smith-Njigba pinch-hit for Pittsburgh in the ninth inning of the opener and doubled in his major league debut. His younger brother, Jaxon, was MVP of this year’s Rose Bowl as a wide receiver for Ohio State.
Donovan, who led off for the Cardinals in the opener, has appeared in all nine lineup spots this season. He has played all four infield positions and right and left field.
THE MACHINE KEEPS RUNNING
Albert Pujols played his 1,340th game at first base, tying Jim Bottomley for most in Cardinals history. It was also his 1,739th game with the Cardinals, passing Curt Flood for seventh-most in franchise history.
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.
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.