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Big League Stew

Homer Bailey tosses Reds’ first no-hitter since 1988, ends Pirates’ bid for winning season

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

(AP)

Don't tell Homer Bailey there's nothing to play for now that the Cincinnati Reds have punched their ticket to the postseason and clinched the National League Central division. The 26-year-old right-hander wants to be a part of their postseason rotation, and he made the strongest case possible by no-hitting the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on Friday night.

Bailey was dominant from his first pitch right up until his 115th and final offering, which resulted in an Alex Presley pop up caught by second baseman Brandon Phillips. He allowed only two baserunners — one on Scott Rolen's third inning error and a seventh inning walk of Andrew McCutchen — and tied a career-high with 10 strikeouts.

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Bailey had to be that good, as Pirates starter A.J. Burnett nearly matched him pitch-for-pitch for his eight innings in what ended up being a tightly-contested 1-0 victory for the Reds. In fact, one of the first things Bailey did in his postgame television interview was thank Burnett for pitching so well and helping him stay sharp and focused throughout.

"I just kept trying to put up zeroes, seeing how A.J. pitched against us all year."

The no-hitter from Bailey is the seventh in major league baseball this season and the first by a Red since Tom Browning tossed a perfect game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sept. 16, 1988. It's also the first time the Pirates have been no-hit since St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson got them on Aug. 14, 1971. This is Homer Bailey's third career complete game in 110 starts, with all three of them coming against the Pirates at PNC Park. His career ERA at the stadium is 1.40.

And in a cruel twist of fate that almost seems fitting, the no-hit loss for Pittsburgh guarantees it a non-winning season for the 20th consecutive year. The Pirates have to win their final six games to avoid yet another losing season.

Talk about punctuating a collapse in spectacular and historic fashion, that's exactly what the Pirates have done in 2012.

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