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O’Neill ends no-hit bid, Cardinals rally past Pirates 5-4

Tyler O’Neill hit a two-run double to end a no-hit bid started by Pittsburgh’s Mitch Keller, and the St. Louis Cardinals rallied to beat the Pirates 5-4 Saturday night.

Keller threw 84 pitches over six no-hit innings and was pulled from the game leading 4-0, but the Cardinals scored five runs off relief pitchers Geoff Hartlieb and Sam Howard in the seventh. O’Neill broke up the no-hit bid and keyed the inning with his bases-loaded double against Howard (2-3).nike nfl jerseys cheap china

St. Louis improved to 25-24 and is a game ahead of Cincinnati and Milwaukee for second place in the NL Central. The top two teams in each division advancing to the expanded postseason.

“Tonight was a microcosm of this group,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “Down 4-0, getting no-hit after six innings, it’s not the most ideal conditions but this group thrives when there aren’t ideal conditions. Our guys stayed mentally ready and scratched and clawed and did what it takes to get the job done.”8

The 24-year-old Keller spun a gem in his second start since missing six weeks with a strained left oblique, but was pulled well short of finishing it off. He walked two and hit O’Neill with a pitch before retiring his final 14 batters, finishing with six strikeouts.

Keller knew his chances of going nine innings were slim.

“I was thinking just go out there and get quick outs and go as deep as I can,” he said. “I knew I had a no-hitter from the first batter. I had a few walks, but other than that, I was pretty pleased.”

Hartlieb relieved in the seventh and promptly loaded the bases by walking Brad Miller and Paul DeJong and drilling Yadier Molina. Howard then came in and allowed O’Neill’s line drive into the left field corner.nfl cheap jerseys nike

“I felt I had to do the job there and put the ball in play hard somewhere,” O’Neill said. “It’s time for us to make some noise. The guys are scrapping together and it’s the mentality we’re taking every day.”

Keller entered with a 1-1 record and 5.06 ERA in three games. He was activated from the injured list Monday after being sidelined since Aug. 2.