Three near no-hitters highlight Rockies-Cards matchup
Freese, Young and Arenado break up potential history over series
ST. LOUIS -- When a pitcher bids for a no-hitter, his team's tense atmosphere is almost comical. Colorado's Jorge De La Rosa, who went 6 2/3 innings before giving up a hit to the Cardinals in Sunday's 8-2 win over St. Louis, asked teammates questions, specifically so they couldn't uphold the superstition of not speaking to a pitcher during a potentially special game.
But on the other side, nothing is funny.
It's enough to try to win a game. But sometimes the potential embarrassment of a game finishing with a zero in the "H" column can crowd out any thought of actually winning the game.
On Sunday, the Cardinals' David Freese broke up the no-hit bid with a hard single to the right side with two outs in the seventh. It ended a weekend in which hits were rare for the losing team.
Had it not been for Eric Young Jr.'s first-inning leadoff single Friday night, Cardinals rookie Shelby Miller would have had a perfect game. No one else reached base in Miller's 3-0 victory. In another 3-0 Cards victory on Saturday, it wasn't until there was one out in the eighth that Nolan Arenado knocked the Rockies' first hit in Adam Wainwright's complete-game two-hitter.
Freese admitted thinking back to last season, when the Mets' Johan Santana completed the first no-hitter in that team's history, against the Cardinals. De La Rosa gave up two hits in seven innings in the Rockies' win.
"It's been an unusual weekend, I guess," Freese said. "Pitching on both sides, us the first couple days and then De La Rosa today, was exceptional. You never want to lose a game, you never want to get no-hit either.
"I remember last year, it was pretty frustrating against Santana and it was creeping up on us. So it was nice to get it out of the way."
When Young had his hit off Miller Friday, a broken-bat single up the middle in the first inning to open the game, he had no idea he had scuttled a night that could have been historic.
"Once he went through the lineup the second time, he had his good stuff, and he was feeling confident," Young said.
Like Miller's game, the Rockies trailed by just three runs as Wainwright chased a possible no-hitter. Unlike Miller's game, Wainwright had posted an impressive bunch of zeros through seven innings. It can test any hitter's ability not to let the pitcher's potential for a no-hitter distract from his approach.
"He was pitching a great game, and we knew that from the very beginning," Arenado said. "But you try not to think about, 'Let's get a hit here.' Just hit the ball hard."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.