April 29, 2018 / 8:55 PM / in 3 months

Kingham nearly perfect in debut as Pirates sweep Cardinals

Pittsburgh right-hander Nick Kingham, making his major league debut, pitched 6 2/3 perfect innings — seven one-hit innings total — Sunday in the Pirates’ 5-0 win over the visiting St. Louis Cardinals.

Paul DeJong’s single down the line in left broke up the perfect game and no-hitter with two outs in the seventh.

Kingham (1-0) had nine strikeouts and no walks in reaching 98 pitches — 72 of them strikes — and earning the win.

“I just trusted myself,” Kingham said. “I went out there, had a lot of things going good for me.”

Relievers Michael Feliz and Edgar Santana each pitched an inning to seal the combined three-hit shutout.

Kingham, 26, was a fourth-round draft pick by the Pirates in 2010 and was rated highly as a prospect in the minor leagues, but he had some setbacks — most notably Tommy John surgery in May 2015 — that delayed his big league debut.

He was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis to make a spot start for the Pirates after the rotation got in a jam because of a doubleheader last week. His family watched his debut from the PNC Park stands.

The win was the Pirates’ fifth in a row and gave them a three-game series sweep of the Cardinals.

St. Louis starter Luke Weaver (2-2) allowed four runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings, with six strikeouts and two walks.

The Pirates broke open a scoreless game in the sixth with four runs.

Starling Marte, Josh Bell and Corey Dickerson each reached with one out to load the bases, and Elias Diaz followed with a base hit to bring in Marte and Bell for a 2-0 lead, chasing Weaver.

Colin Moran greeted reliever Jordan Hicks with an RBI single.

After Diaz was out at home on a fielder’s choice, Kingham walked to load the bases. Hicks hit Adam Frazier, forcing in a run to make it 4-0.

David Freese added a pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth off reliever Greg Holland for a 5-0 lead.

—Field Level Media

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