Kingham flirts with perfecto in MLB debut, Pirates top Cards
Nick Kingham carried a perfect game into the seventh inning in his major league debut to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 5-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.
Kingham, a 26-year-old rookie right-hander, retired 20 straight batters before Paul DeJong singled down the left-field line with two outs in the seventh. He finished with one hit and nine strikeouts on 98 pitches (72 strikes) after being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis earlier in the day.
Elias Diaz went 3-for-4 with three singles and two RBIs as the Pirates won their fifth straight game and completed a three-game sweep of the Cardinals.
Right-hander Luke Weaver (2-2) took the loss after allowing four runs runs on six hits with six strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He pitched five scoreless before walking the bases loaded with one out in the sixth.
Diaz singled down the right-field line, scoring Starling Marte and Josh Bell for a 2-0 lead. Right-handed reliever Jordan Hicks replaced Weaver before Colin Moran extended the Pirates' lead to 3-0 with an RBI single to center that drove in Corey Dickerson from third.
Hicks hit Adam Frazier with the bases loaded, giving Pittsburgh a 4-0 lead after six, and David Freese had a pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth to make it 5-0.
Pittsburgh selected Kingham in the fourth round of the 2010 draft out of Sierra Vista High School in Las Vegas. He underwent Tommy John surgery in May 2015, causing him to miss most of the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
In four starts with Indianapolis this season, Kingham was 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA.
Pirates LHP Enny Romero was designated for assignment to make room for Kingham on the 25-man roster. The Nationals had designated him for assignment this season before the Pirates claimed him off waivers on April 16.
Pirates: Frazier left the game after getting hit by a pitch in the sixth inning. Sean Rodriguez replaced him at second base in the top of the seventh.
Cardinals: RHP Michael Wacha (4-1, 3.62) will attempt to extend his winning streak to five games when he takes the mound against the Chicago White Sox at Busch Stadium on Tuesday. Wacha has won four straight starts since last losing on March 31, when he allowed four runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings against the New York Mets.
Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (2-2, 4.91) will try to get back on track when he starts against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on Monday. Taillon has surrendered a combined 12 runs in 5 1/3 innings over his past two starts.