Apparently, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Homer Bailey has taken a monopoly over Major League Baseball's supply of no-hitters.
The Reds right-hander recorded the second no-no of his career on Tuesday night, blanking the San Francisco Giants in a 3-0 win for Cincinnati at Great American Ballpark.
CONGRATULATIONS HOMER BAILEY! A SECOND NO-HITTER! #whiff— Reds (@Reds) July 3, 2013
Bailey suffocated the Giants' lineup with an excellent differentiation of locations and speed changes, striking out nine batters. Continuing strong through his nine innings of work, Bailey only needed 109 pitches despite his strong strikeout total.
The only blemish on Bailey’s record was a seventh-inning free pass to outfielder Gregor Blanco.
In a strange twist of fate, it was the Giants’ leadoff hitter who dribbled a meek grounder to third base to record the final out.
Despite many close calls throughout the first half of the season, Bailey’s was the first no-no of 2013. As noted by ESPN’s Buster Olney, this is the 280th no-hitter in MLB history.
Gregor Blanco makes the last out -- and Homer Bailey gets the 280th no-hitter in MLB history, and Bailey's second!— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 3, 2013
The 27-year-old righty, in another lucky coincidence, also was the last MLB pitcher to go nine innings without giving up a hit. Bailey blanked the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sept. 28 at PNC Park, the last of the league’s seven no-nos last season.
CSN's Andrew Baggarly noted that it's not quite a Johnny Vander Meer accomplishment—he is the only player to record consecutive no-hitters in league history—but it is impressive nonetheless:
Who had baseball's last no-hitter? Why, Homer Bailey, in his last regular-season start of 2012. Not Vander Meer stuff, but darn impressive.— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) July 3, 2013
Bailey also has quite the history against the Giants. He one-hit them over seven innings during Game 3 of their NLDS clash last season, though Cincinnati lost that contest 2-1 en route to a five-game series defeat.
However, it was Bailey and the Reds who had the last laugh this time around. Mowing through the San Francisco lineup with ease, Bailey sent the first 18 batters down in order with nary a peep of trouble. Blanco got on base after a tough, seven-pitch at-bat but was unable to advance past second base. He was thrown out at third on a fielder's choice following Buster Posey's grounder, the result of a poor base running error.
Bailey then mowed through the eighth and ninth innings, again without all that much resistance from San Francisco's offense. The Reds star spoke about his feelings during the late frames with MLB Network, per MLB's Twitter feed:
“During the 8th and 9th, I just kind of said, ‘Why the hell not, here we go again." - Homer Bailey tells @MLBNetwork.— MLB (@MLB) July 3, 2013
Giants starter Tim Lincecum also threw 5.1 strong innings, giving up three runs and striking out eight. But Bailey’s biggest offensive stars made sure to give him just enough of a cushion. Joey Votto hit a sac fly that scored Sin-Soo Choo in the bottom of the first, and Brandon Phillips sent Lincecum to the showers with a two-run blast in the sixth frame.
Outside of the no-hit bid, the victory was also critical for the Reds’ divisional chase. They are now just four games behind the first-place Pittsburgh Pirates, who were unable to record their 10th straight win on Tuesday night, losing 3-1 to the Philadelphia Phillies.
The victory brought Bailey's record to 5-6 on the season, with a 3.57 ERA. His no-hitter was the 16th in Reds franchise history.
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