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Bucs silenced by Wacha, drop 3 of 4 in St. Louis

MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- Michael Wacha was untouchable in his one-hit performance against the Pirates on Sunday afternoon at Busch Stadium, as the Bucs fell, 5-0. Wacha had a no-hitter going until Colin Moran lined a single to right leading off the ninth inning. Wacha was removed from the game and received a standing ovation from the Cardinals' crowd.

"There's certain things in the game that can get to a point where they may be out of reach. If you can't win, you want to knock him out of the game," manager Clint Hurdle said. "If he's throwing a no-hitter, you don't want that to happen."

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ST. LOUIS -- Michael Wacha was untouchable in his one-hit performance against the Pirates on Sunday afternoon at Busch Stadium, as the Bucs fell, 5-0. Wacha had a no-hitter going until Colin Moran lined a single to right leading off the ninth inning. Wacha was removed from the game and received a standing ovation from the Cardinals' crowd.

"There's certain things in the game that can get to a point where they may be out of reach. If you can't win, you want to knock him out of the game," manager Clint Hurdle said. "If he's throwing a no-hitter, you don't want that to happen."

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The Pirates gave up their second four-run first inning of the series when Marcell Ozuna hit a grand slam off starter Nick Kingham. Matt Carpenter walked, Tommy Pham singled and Jose Martinez reached when Sean Rodriguez made a fielding error, setting up Ozuna for the home run.

Video: PIT@STL: Ozuna hits grand slam 4 batters into game

"This is the big leagues -- they are up here for a reason," Kingham said. "They hit mistakes, and that was one of them. Ozuna hit one out."

Kingham recovered nicely after the first, combining with Steven Brault for seven scoreless innings. Ozuna scored the Cards' final run in the ninth when Yairo Munoz singled off Michael Feliz. Kingham said the key to moving on from a rough first inning was playing the game batter by batter. Whether it was a walk or a hit, the hitter at the plate isn't dictated by the last play, he said.

"It's not going to do anybody any good dwelling on the past," Kingham said. "The next hitter steps in and it's my job to get this guy out and everybody else that follows."

Video: PIT@STL: Kingham strikes out Pham swinging

But Wacha was unstoppable against the Pirates' offense. The righty walked Francisco Cervelli and Gregory Polanco in the fifth inning, but he got Rodriguez to ground out to end the inning.

In the ninth, Hurdle went with Moran to pinch-hit for Rodriguez. Prior to being put into the game, Moran watched Wacha pitching while warming up in the batting cages to prepare for his at-bat.

"Obviously, he was pretty filthy today," Moran said. "I don't even know what the first three pitches he threw me were. I was just swinging and got lucky."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Pirates wanted no part of being no-hit by Wacha, so Moran made sure of it by hitting a single in the ninth, and Austin Meadows hit a single off reliever Jordan Hicks. The last time the Pirates were no-hit was on June 20, 2015 by Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals.

Video: PIT@STL: Moran singles to break up Wacha's no-hitter

HE SAID IT
"Winning is always better than losing. Getting any hits is better than getting no hits. Always." -- Hurdle

UP NEXT
Joe Musgrove (2-0, 0.64 ERA) opposes Ross Stripling (3-1, 1.68 ERA) following the off-day in the Pirates' series opener against the Dodgers on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET at PNC Park. The right-handed Musgrove has won both games he's pitched this season. He has never faced the Dodgers.

Sean Collins is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Nick Kingham, Colin Moran