Homer Bailey became the first Cincinnati Reds pitcher in 44 years to throw his second no-hitter, allowing only one walk in a 3-0 win against the visiting San Francisco Giants.
Bailey’s second no-hitter in 10 months was the first of the 2013 Major League Baseball season. His previous no-hitter, on Sept. 28, 2012, was the seventh of last season.
Bailey threw his arms up in triumph and hugged catcher Ryan Hanigan after Gregor Blanco grounded out to third base to end the game.
“I go out here every day and try to win,” Bailey said in a television interview, his face covered with shaving cream courtesy of teammates. “To have no-hitters is something exceptionally special, but it’s all about the wins.”
Bailey joined Jim Maloney and Johnny Vander Meer as the only Reds pitchers to throw more than one no-hitter. Maloney’s came in 1965 and 1969, while Vander Meer pitched unprecedented back-to-back no-hitters on June 11 and 15, 1938.
Texas Rangers President and Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan holds the major league record with seven no-hitters. Bailey, a native of La Grange, Texas, wears No. 34 in homage to his boyhood idol, Ryan, who threw the last no-hitter of 1974 and the first of 1975.
Bailey, 27, struck out nine and hit 97 miles per hour (156 kilometers per hour) on a radar gun at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park.
Bailey’s first no-hitter, against the Pittsburgh Pirates, came near the end of the 2012 regular season when Reds manager Dusty Baker was hospitalized with an irregular heartbeat.
The 64-year-old Baker celebrated in the dugout last night as Bailey (5-6) completed his second no-hitter.
“He was dealing,” Baker told reporters. “He had a dynamite fastball and showed great control. What a game. I can’t quit smiling. I’m so glad for Homer.”
Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers, Mark Buehrle of the Toronto Blue Jays and Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies are the only other active pitchers with two no-hitters.
Joey Votto had a sacrifice fly in the first inning off Tim Lincecum (4-9) and Brandon Phillips hit a two-run homer in the sixth for Cincinnati’s runs.
It was the 16th no-hitter in Cincinnati history, and the Giants were no-hit for the 16th time.
“It was a pretty easy no-hitter,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “We didn’t hit too many balls hard. There weren’t any tough plays. We only hit a couple balls decent. He was really overmatching us all night.”
Blanco walked on a full count leading off the seventh inning, breaking up Bailey’s perfect game and providing the only San Francisco baserunner. In the ninth, Bailey jumped to grab Brandon Crawford’s high-bouncing grounder, struck out pinch-hitter Tony Abreu and then got Blanco to ground to third baseman Todd Frazier.
“Going into the eighth and ninth, I just said, ’Why the hell not?”’ Bailey said. “Here we go again.”