ST. LOUIS (USA TODAY) - The precocious Michael Wacha did it again Saturday.
The St. Louis Cardinals rookie right-hander blanked the Los Angeles Dodgers on three hits over allowed 6 2/3 innings of Game 2 of the National League Championship Series at Busch Stadium, one-upping presumed Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw.
The Cardinals won 1-0, scoring a run off defending three-time NL ERA leader Kershaw in the fifth inning when David Freese hit a leadoff double, took third on A.J. Ellis' passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jon Jay.
Then, Wacha pulled an escape act that was perhaps more impressive than even the seven no-hit innings he threw in the Division Series against Pittsburgh.
A leadoff single by Kershaw was followed by a terrible decision by Carpenter, who tried retiring Kershaw on a force at second. His throw was both late and wide, and put runners at second and third with no outs.
Wacha got Mark Ellis to pop up, and after an intentional walk to Adrian Gonzalez, he struck out Yasiel Puig - on a full count - and Juan Uribe to end the inning.
The usually calm 22-year-old bounced off the mound with a fist pump after fanning Uribe.
He was removed with two outs in the seventh in favor of lefty Kevin Segrist. Wacha's line: five hits, eight strikeouts, one walk, no runs.
The Dodgers' scoreless streak had reached 17 innings, stretching back to the third inning of Game 1 on Friday night, which won by the Cardinals 3-2 in 13 innings.
In his postseason debut Monday, Wacha took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Pirates in Game 4 of the National League Division Series at Pittsburgh. He got the win as he gave up only one run and on hit - a home by Pedro Alvarez - in 7 1/3 innings.
Wacha lost a no-hit bid with two outs in ninth inning on Sept. 24 in his final regular-season start when Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman broke it up with an infield single at Busch Stadium.
Wacha was 4-1 with a 2.78 in 15 regular-season games, including nine starts.
Kershaw also allowed just two hits through five innings.