Before making his major league debut, the St. Louis Cardinals pitcher had to wait out an hour-long rain delay.
"I think the worst part was just sitting around all day," Wacha said. "Once I threw the first pitch for a strike I really calmed down and was able to execute my pitches pretty well."
The end was pretty rocky for a bullpen minus closer Edward Mujica, victimized for a three-run ninth that spoiled Wacha's almost spotless showing in a soggy 4-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night.
"I'll never forget this day, that's for sure," Wacha said. "Even if I wasn't pitching. I'm not used to playing too many games at 2:30 in the morning."
Manager Mike Matheny said it was a shame Wacha's outing "was kind of going to fall on the back page."
Hall of Famer George Brett's debut as interim batting coach was a success and the Royals avoided a four-game sweep despite totaling just four hits in a marathon delayed an hour before the first pitch and another 4 hours, 32 minutes not long after the Royals took the lead with the bases loaded and none out in the top of the ninth.
It took 12 minutes to get the last six outs of a game that would have been a snappy 2 hours, 27 minutes without the rain.
From a near capacity crowd of 43,916, a couple hundred fans at most were around when the game scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m. CDT ended at 3:14 a.m.
Umpire crew chief Joe West opted for patience and declined to invoke a rule clause in the final season meeting between teams that would have wiped out the top of the ninth and declared the Cardinals 2-1 winners. Matheny and general manager John Mozeliak both lobbied on the field while crews got the field ready.
Matheny said the Cardinals had been in "constant contact with the league, and there's no real protest to file." He judged the playing conditions "bad."
"This comes down to one of my guys getting hurt, it's a big deal," the manager said.
The lengthy delay created a bit of a hardship for that crew, set to work a Cubs day game on Friday.
"We worry about that game when we get to that one," West said to a pool reporter. "We had to worry about this game tonight."
The Royals traveled to Texas to start a weekend series Friday night and the Cardinals begin a three-game series at home against the Giants.
"They've got to travel to Texas, we get to go home and go to bed," Matheny said.
Matheny paid a hefty price for giving Mujica a day off after earning four saves in four days. Jeff Francoeur homered on the second pitch from Mitchell Boggs, a curious choice to get the ball in the ninth given season-long woes that left him with a double-digit ERA and included a stint in the minors.
Boggs (0-3) faced two batters, retired neither and was loudly booed by a near-sellout crowd forced into a second rain delay. He was demoted May 3 after a 12.66 ERA and 12 walks in 10 2-3 innings. He has allowed a run in three of four appearances since returning on May 19, and none of the first three outings came with the game on the line.
Matheny said after the game that set-up man Trevor Rosenthal also had been unavailable because of a heavy workload.
"He's been up five days in a row," Matheny said. "He hasn't been in all five but he was ready to go. We've got to take care of you. You hate to sacrifice anything to do it, we needed the other guys to come in and pick up the slack."
Eric Hosmer, who had one RBI the previous 10 games, bounced a bases-loaded double over a drawn-in infield off Victor Marte.
The 21-year-old Wacha, who allowed a run on two hits in seven innings, was the third rookie to debut as a starter for the Cardinals and came close to matching John Gast and Tyler Lyons as first-game winners. Wacha retired the first 13 batters and set down the side in order every inning except the fifth, when Lorenzo Cain doubled with one out and scored on Elliott Johnson's single.
Wacha made the Cardinals' fastest jump from draft day to the majors in 25 years after getting picked in the first round last June.
Louis Coleman (1-0) allowed a walk in 1 1-3 innings and Greg Holland finished for his eighth save in 10 chances and first since May 1. Holland's blown save on May 6 against the White Sox was his only other chance this month.
Francoeur had been batting .156 in May and didn't start for the second straight game, entering in a double switch in the seventh. He ended the Royals' 59-inning slump without a homer with his second of the season and first since April 10.
Allen Craig and David Freese had two-out RBI singles in the first off Jeremy Guthrie to give the Cardinals the lead. They left the bases loaded in the second, wasting a single by Wacha in his first career at-bat, and stranded two in the fourth.
Wacha had a chance to score from second on Carlos Beltran's hit, but the Cardinals didn't risk a play at the plate with the bases loaded, one out and the heart of the order coming up. Matt Holliday grounded into a force play at the plate and Craig grounded out to end the inning.
NOTES: Wacha is the eighth rookie pitcher to suit up for St. Louis this year and seventh to play. Reliever Michael Blazek was optioned to the minors earlier in the day without appearing in a game. ... Shelby Miller (5-3, 2.02) opposes the Giants' Matt Cain (4-2, 5.00) in the opener of a three-game series Friday. The Royals begin a three-game set at Texas with Wade Davis (3-4, 5.71) opposing Derek Holland (4-2, 2.97). ... Cardinals reliever Randy Choate was the winner Wednesday for his first decision since July 24, 2011, a span of 103 appearances. It's the third-longest streak in major league history.
The Cardinals have announced that rookie right-hander Michael Wacha will get the start on Thursday against the Royals. He'll be promoted from AAA Memphis. The 21-year-old was the Cardinals #1 draft selection out of Texas A&M. Wacha is currently 4-0 and leading the Pacific Coast League with a 2.05 ERA. The Cardinals will announce a corresponding player move prior to Wacha's start Thursday night.
CLEVELAND (AP) - Midfielder Maurice Edu has dropped out of the U.S. men's training camp ahead of the next World Cup qualifiers because of a sports hernia.
Edu, fellow midfielder Brek Shea and defender Corey Ashe all withdrew Monday. No replacements were added to the roster, which now stands at 28 players. Shea, who has a lingering calf strain, is returning to Dallas for treatment and could rejoin the U.S. team at a later date.
The Americans play Belgium here Wednesday in an exhibition. They also have an exhibition against Germany on June 2 before resuming World Cup qualifying. Seeking its seventh straight World Cup berth, the U.S. travels to Jamaica on June 7, plays Panama four days later in Seattle, and then faces Honduras in Salt Lake City on June 18.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Yadier Molina homered and drove in four runs to help the St. Louis Cardinals beat the slumping Kansas City Royals 6-3 on Monday.
Molina hit a two-run homer in the first, doubled home a run in the third and his sacrifice fly in the fourth scored Pete Kozma.
While the Cardinals own the best road record, 19-9, in the majors, the Royals dropped their ninth straight home game - one shy of the franchise record set last year.
The anticipated pitcher's duel between Adam Wanwright and James Shields failed to materialize.
Wainwright (7-3), who had given up 12 hits in 22 1-3 innings in his previous three starts, allowed 12 hits, the most he has allowed in a game since Sept. 14, 2010 against the Chicago Cubs.
Shields (2-6) yielded nine hits and season-highs of six runs and five walks in six innings to lose his fourth straight start.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Matt Carpenter drove in the go-ahead run with an infield single and Pete Kozma hit a three-run double against Clayton Kershaw, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday in the rubber game of their series.
The Cardinals improved the major league's best record to 32-17 and increased their NL Central lead over Cincinnati to 1 1/2 games.
Kozma led off the seventh with a bloop double off the glove of shortstop Dee Gordon as he dived for the ball in short center field. One out later, Carpenter grounded a single off the glove of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, allowing Kozma to score. Pinch-hitter Matt Adams added an RBI single in the ninth.
Seth Maness (4-1) got credit for the victory in relief of starter Shelby Miller despite retiring only two of the six batters he faced.
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Harvick has won the Coca-Cola 600 for the second time in three years, pulling away from runner-up Kasey Kahne on a restart with 11 laps left.
Kahne led 156 laps and appeared to have the strongest machine in NASCAR's longest race. But Harvick took the low line following the last of 11 cautions and slowly pulled away.
Kurt Busch finished third, and polesitter Denny Hamlin was fourth in his second full race since returning from a back injury.
Speedway officials say 10 fans were injured when a nylon rope supporting a Fox Sports overhead television camera fell from the grandstands and landed on the track surface. A track spokeswoman says the three people taken to the hospital had "minor injuries that are not life threatening."
The incident occurred on lap 121 of the 400-lap Cup race and caused a 27-minute delay. Kyle Busch, Marco Ambrose and Mark Martin reported damage to their vehicles.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Miami Heat are back in control of the NBA's Eastern Conference finals.
LeBron James scored 22 points and the Heat shot 55 percent in a 114-96 win over the Pacers at Indiana, giving Miami a 2-1 series lead. Udonis Hsalem shot 8-for-9 and finished with 17 points and seven rebounds as the Heat bounced back from Friday's 97-93 loss to the Pacers. Dwyane Wade chipped in 18 points, eight assists and four rebounds for Miami, which took command by outscoring Indiana 36-26 to grab a 14-point halftime lead.
The Heat broke a team playoff record by scoring 70 points in the opening half, and tied a team playoff mark with just one first-half turnover.
David West had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers, while Roy Hibbert added 20 points and a game-high 17 boards. Indiana also shot 8-for-14 from three-point range but just 40 percent from the field overall.
The series stays in Indianapolis for Game 4 on Tuesday.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Adrian Gonzalez homered and drove in three runs, Mark Ellis lined a go-ahead double in the sixth inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated St. Louis 5-3 on Saturday to snap the Cardinals' three-game winning streak.
The last-place Dodgers, who had lost five of seven, blew a two-run lead before Ellis' two-out hit off Seth Maness (3-1) scored Carl Crawford from first base to make it 4-3.
Paco Rodriguez (1-2) earned his first major league victory, getting three outs on 10 pitches. Brandon League worked the ninth to earn his 10th save in 12 chances.
The NL Central-leading Cardinals tied the game at 3 on David Freese's broken-bat RBI double and Pete Kozma's infield single in the sixth. Nick Punto made a diving stop behind third base, but he couldn't throw out Kozma.
UNDATED (AP) — Tuukka Rask stopped 28 shots, Gregory Campbell scored twice and the Boston Bruins beat the New York Rangers 3-1 in Game 5 to advance to the Eastern Conference finals.
Recent call-up Torey Krug scored his fourth goal of the series for Boston, which reached the third round of the NHL playoffs for the second time since 1992. The other was 2011, when the Bruins won the sixth Stanley Cup in franchise history.
The Bruins will face the Pittsburgh Penguins for the right to play for the Stanley Cup.
The Chicago Blackhawks are still alive after whacking Detroit 4-1 in a must-win game for the Blackhawks. Andrew Shaw had two goals for his first career multi-goal playoff game. That cuts the Red Wings' lead in this Western Conference semifinal to 3-2. Game 6 is back in Detroit on Monday.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The San Antonio Spurs are on the doorstep of going to the NBA Finals.
The Spurs won their second straight overtime game and took a commanding 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals by dominating the extra five-minute period and beating Memphis 104-93 on the Grizzlies' home floor.
Tim Duncan scored the first five points of overtime, and the San Antonio Spurs rallied from an 18-point deficit. Duncan finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. The Spurs fell behind early 19-5 but came on strong when it counted. They hit their first five shots in overtime, outscoring the Grizzlies 18-7 in OT.
The Spurs can wrap up the series with a victory in Game 4 Monday night in Memphis. San Antonio now has won five straight postseason games.