Cincinnati Reds pitcher Homer Bailey just tossed a no-hitter against the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants in front of the hometown fans at The Great American Ballpark. He struck out nine and walked only one batter. The Reds won the game 3-0.
It’s the first no-hitter in MLB since…Homer Bailey. Last September, Bailey tossed a no-no against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. There were seven no-hitters thrown in 2012 (including three perfect games).
But I will remember Bailey’s second no-hitter far more than the first. You see I was watching the game on the MLB Network. Normally, I would watch the Red Sox, but Tim Lincecum was pitching for the Giants. The Freak is my sister’s favorite player so I watch him pitch every chance I get. We compare notes by e-mail after the game.
In more than 30 years of watching MLB, it is only the second time I have seen a no-hitter on TV from start to finish. The only other no-hitter I’ve ever seen from start to finish was when Clay Buchholz’s no-hit Baltimore Orioles in his second big league start during Labor Day Weekend in 2007. I saw that no-hitter at the home of a friend in Salisbury, Massachusetts (near the New Hampshire border). Tonight, I was home alone in JP.
Bailey was absolutely brilliant. He was perfect into the 7th inning until he issued a walk to Gregor Blanco. Two batters later, reigning NL MVP Buster Posey appeared he was going beat Bailey to the first base bag and break up the no-no. But Votto alertly threw the ball to third baseman Todd Frazier who tagged out Blanco. Posey reached on a fielder’s choice and the no-hitter remained intact.
The Reds took a 1-0 lead in the 1st on a sacrifice fly by Joey Votto scoring Shin-Soo Choo. Interestingly, Choo appeared to have a hit a home run to lead off the game, but Hunter Pence got a glove on the ball and knocked it back on the field. The umps reviewed the play and ruled a double for Choo.
In the sixth, Brandon Phillips hit a two run home run off Lincecum to give the Reds a 3-0 lead. That was more than sufficient offense for the Reds.
I wasn’t nervous until the ninth. Brandon Crawford hit the ball back to Bailey who fired the ball to Votto. Bailey struck out pinch hitter Tony Abreu for the second out. Blanco may have spoiled the perfect game, but he would not spoil the no-hitter as he grounded out to Frazier to end the game. I applauded.
Bailey joins Johnny Vander Meer (who, of course, threw back to back no-hitters in 1938) and Jim Maloney as the only Reds to throw more than one no-hitters. The 27-year old right-hander improves to 5-6 with a respectable 3.57 ERA on the season.
After the game, Bailey expressed delight that Reds manager Dusty Baker could be on hand to witness his achievement. Late last season, Baker sustained a mini-stroke and was absent from the dugout during the final couple of weeks of the regular season although he returned during the post-season. The Reds, of course, lost to the Giants in the NLDS.
As for Lincecum, he did not pitch badly. He fanned eight batters in 5 1/3 innings. Unfortunately, The Freak is still far removed from his Cy Young form of 2008 and 2009 and his record falls to 4-9 which will no doubt disappoint my sister.
Bailey’s triumph moves the Reds to within 4 games of the Pirates in the NL Central.
There will be other no-hitters thrown. But I will never forget this one for as long as I live.
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