Homer Bailey of the Cincinnati Reds threw the seventh no-hitter in Major League Baseball this season and tied his team for the best record in the majors.
“I just kept trying to put up zeroes, just one pitch at a time,” Bailey said in a televised interview. “We’re trying to get the best record in the National League.”
The Reds tied Washington with a 95-62 record when Bailey no-hit the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 1-0 victory, while the NL East-leading Nationals fell 12-2 to the St. Louis Cardinals.
The New York Yankees routed the Toronto Blue Jays 11-4 to retain the American League East lead, one game ahead of the Baltimore Orioles, who defeated the Boston Red Sox 9-1. There are five days left in the regular season.
At PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Bailey, who struck out 10 to tie his career high, got Alex Presley on a pop fly to second base to end the game and become the first Reds pitcher to throw a no-hitter since Tom Browning had a perfect game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988.
The only Pirates to reach base came on an error by third baseman Scott Rolen in the third inning and a walk to Andrew McCutchen in the seventh.
“My defense has just covered my back,” Bailey said. “They made me look good.”
Bailey, 26, is 13-10 this season for the Reds, who already have clinched the National League Central division title. It was the 15th no-hitter in Reds history and the first against the Pirates since Bob Gibson of the St. Louis Cardinals held them hitless in 1971.
There have been three other no-hitters and three perfect games in the major leagues this season.
The three perfect games were by Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners, Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants and Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox. The other no-hitters were by Johan Santana of the New York Mets, Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels and a combined no-hitter by Kevin Millwood and five Mariners relievers.
At Rogers Centre in Toronto, Russell Martin hit a three-run homer in the sixth for the Yankees. Ichiro Suzuki and Robinson Cano added run-scoring singles and Eric Chavez blasted a two-run homer in the ninth.
Colby Rasmus and Adam Lind hit home runs for Toronto, whose 69-88 record puts the Blue Jays tied for fourth with the Red Sox in the five-team AL East, 22 games behind the Yankees.
Hiroki Kuroda (15-11) gave up two runs on 10 hits and struck out four in 5 1/3 innings. Chad Jenkins (0-3) lasted only 3 2/3 innings for Toronto.
At Oriole Park, Ryan Flaherty hit his first career grand slam to give the Orioles a 6-1 lead at the end of the first inning after Chris Davis had hit a two-run homer.
“I was just looking for a pitch to drive,” Flaherty said. “Two outs and I got a good pitch to hit.”
Manny Machado and Flaherty each hit run-scoring doubles and Taylor Teagarden had an RBI single as Baltimore added three runs in the fifth inning.
Chris Tillman (9-2) allowed one unearned run on one hit in eight innings for the Orioles. Red Sox starter Aaron Cook lasted one inning, allowing six runs on five hits.
Baltimore and the Oakland Athletics are in position for the two AL wild-card spots. The Los Angeles Angels, who began the night two games behind the A’s for the second wild-card spot, won 7-4 at the Texas Rangers (92-65), who are first in the AL West. The Detroit Tigers (84-73), who lost 4-2 at the Minnesota Twins, had their lead in the AL Central cut to one game over the Chicago White Sox, who beat Tampa Bay 3-1.
In the National League wild-card race, the Atlanta Braves (91-66) and St. Louis Cardinals (85-72) hold the two spots.