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Reds' Bailey baffles Pirates again, but this time with a no-hitter

The SportsXchange

PITTSBURGH -- Homer Bailey threw the 15th no-hitter in Cincinnati Reds history Friday night as the National League Central champions edged the Pittsburgh Pirates 1-0 at PNC Park.

"It's one of those really special moments you'll remember for the rest of your life," said Reds bench coach Chris Speier, serving as acting manager while Dusty Baker recovers from a mini-stroke. "I've been fortunate to see many big moments in baseball, and that one was as nerve wracking as any."

Bailey had no margin for error after the Reds scored a run in the first inning and held on.

"I couldn't really think about the no-hitter because I had to concentrate on making every pitch a good one," Bailey said. "The game was riding on every pitch and that was my sole focus."

The 26-year-old Bailey struck out 10 and retired 13 straight batters at one point in pitching his fourth career complete game and second shutout. All of his complete games have been against Pittsburgh.

"They have a young team and I've faced a lot of those guys both coming up in the minor leagues and in the major leagues because we're in the same division," Bailey said. "I've probably faced Andrew McCutchen a hundred times, so I have a pretty good feel for their hitters."

The Pirates couldn't do anything against Bailey again at PNC Park. He is 5-0 with a 1.19 ERA in six career starts there, and Friday's performance was his best yet.

"Bailey was hitting his spots," said McCutchen, the Pirates' center fielder. "He varied his pitches. He stayed down and away with a lot of fastballs, hitting his spots every time. He didn't give in at all.

The Reds' last no-hitter was also a perfect game, in 1988 by Tom Browning against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The only things standing between Bailey (13-10) and a no-hitter in this game were third baseman Scott Rolen's error on a Clint Barmes' groundball leading off the third inning and McCutchen's one-out walk in the seventh.

Bailey's no-hitter was the seventh of the season in the major leagues. He joined the Chicago White Sox's Philip Humber, the Los Angeles Angels' Jered Weaver, the New York Mets' Johan Santana, San Francisco's Matt Cain and Seattle's Felix Hernandez. Six Mariners pitchers also combined on a no-no.

"I don't think there is any reason why there have been so many no-hitters thrown this year," Bailey said. "There is a real fine line there in throwing a no-hitter. A bloop can fall in the outfield or an infielder can be in the wrong position and there goes your hit. You have to be extremely fortunate to throw a no-hitter, and we had luck on our side tonight."

Cincinnati scored the game's lone run off A.J. Burnett (16-9) in the first inning on Todd Frazier's sacrifice fly. Frazier, playing left field, also made the only above-average defensive play behind Bailey, running down Alex Presley's shallow flyball near the foul line to end the third inning.

The Pirates threatened in the seventh when McCutchen walked and stole second base with Bailey holding the one-run lead. However, McCutchen was then thrown out by catcher Ryan Hanigan when he attempted to steal third base.

Bailey set the Pirates down in the order in the ninth, striking out Brock Holt and getting Michael McKenry and Presley to pop out. Bailey was mobbed by his teammates as soon as second baseman Brandon Phillips squeezed the final out.

"I'm really happy for Homer," Hanigan said. "We've been together since 2006, broke into the major leagues together the next year. He's gotten better and better each year, and tonight you saw how good he can be. He was tremendous."
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