Cardinals' Mikolas loses no-hitter vs. Pirates with 1 strike to go

Joe Puetz / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Miles Mikolas was one agonizing strike away from baseball history.

The St. Louis Cardinals right-hander tossed 8 2/3 innings of no-hit baseball against the Pittsburgh Pirates before the final batter he faced, Cal Mitchell, managed to break it up with a ground-rule double.

With two out in the ninth and a 2-2 count, Mitchell - who didn't start the game - laced Mikolas' 129th pitch over the head of Harrison Bader and into the stands on a bounce.

With his pitch count already sky-high, the team removed Mikolas to a standing ovation after giving up the hit.

Mikolas became the first Cardinals hurler to toss 8 2/3 no-hit innings since Michael Wacha in 2013, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

"It kind of stinks to not finish that out," the 33-year-old told Bally Sports Midwest postgame.

Packy Naughton relieved Mikolas and recorded the final out to secure a 9-1 Cardinals victory and a St. Louis sweep of Tuesday's doubleheader.

Mikolas finished his night with six strikeouts, one walk, and one unearned run allowed on a career-high 129 pitches (81 strikes). The Pirates managed to score in the fourth when Bryan Reynolds reached second on a Juan Yepez error before coming around to score on consecutive ground-ball outs.

Mikolas got plenty of help from his defense before the fateful ninth inning, including a sensational play by Nolan Gorman in the fourth.

"I can't say enough about our defense today. We were everywhere we had to be and making fantastic plays all game," Mikolas said. "I kind of feel like I let them down after all that great defense that I got today."

The near no-no added another chapter to Mikolas' remarkable career, which has had many twists and turns en route to St. Louis. After flaming out of the majors in 2014, he turned his career around in Japan, starring for the Yomiuri Giants before joining the Cardinals and winning an NL-best 18 games four years later.

Mikolas now owns a 2.62 ERA and 0.97 WHIP with 66 strikeouts in 13 starts this season.

The Cardinals' most recent no-hitter was thrown by Bud Smith in 2001, while their last no-no at home was recorded by Bob Forsch against the Montreal Expos in 1983.

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, narrowly avoided being no-hit for the 14th time in franchise history. Earlier this season, the Bucs won a game without registering a hit, although it wasn't officially recognized as a no-hitter.

Cardinals' Mikolas loses no-hitter vs. Pirates with 1 strike to go
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