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AP - Sports

Tony Cingrani will certainly have a tough act to follow when he makes his return to the Cincinnati Reds rotation.

After Homer Bailey threw his second career no-hitter and the majors' first this season, Cingrani will try to be the next to stymie the scuffling San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night.

Bailey has now thrown the past two no-hitters in baseball with a 3-0 win Tuesday. He nearly had a perfect game, issuing his lone walk to Gregor Blanco in the seventh inning.

"To do it once is extra special. To do it twice - I don't really have the words for it right now," Bailey said.

Cincinnati (48-36) has outscored San Francisco 11-1 halfway through this four-game set after entering the week having lost eight of 11.

The Giants (39-44), meanwhile, have been held to 18 runs and batted .196 while dropping eight of nine.

"We're going through such a tough stretch with the offense. You'd like to think that we've bottomed out now," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Hopefully, this is rock bottom."

Bochy's club, 2 for 23 with runners in scoring position over the last six games, would appear to be an ideal opponent for Cingrani's first start since June 11. The left-hander had to throw four innings of emergency relief Friday in Texas after Johnny Cueto had to leave with a strained right lat.

With Cueto on the disabled list for the third time this season, Cingrani (3-0, 3.42 ERA) will try to provide some more solid starts. He's earned all of his wins and has a 3.15 ERA in seven starts this season, allowing three runs or fewer in all but one.

Cingrani gave up three runs Friday and walked a career-high six.

"I got better as it went," he told the team's website. "I got a little tired in the last inning I threw. I haven't thrown that many pitches in I don't even remember how long ago. I just tried to keep battling."

In his first appearance against the Giants, Cingrani will pitch opposite Barry Zito (4-6, 4.53). The left-hander went 0-3 with a 5.97 ERA in five starts during June and is 1-5 with a 5.88 ERA in his last nine.

Zito is 0-5 with a 10.41 ERA in six road starts after a 4-1 loss to Colorado on Friday, giving up four runs and 10 hits over 5 1-3 innings.

He was pulled after 2 2-3 innings in his most recent start against the Reds, Game 4 of last year's NL division series. Zito allowed one run and five hits over six frames in each of his two regular-season matchups with the Reds last year but is 0-3 in the last four, getting a combined two runs of support.

Brandon Phillips is 9 for 21 (.429) against Zito, including the postseason. The second baseman hit his second homer in six games Tuesday and is hitting .364 in that span.

The Giants' Pablo Sandoval is batting .107 with nine strikeouts since returning from the disabled list June 24 and has one hit in his last seven contests.

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