|Homer Bailey likes pitching in Pittsburgh. (AP)|
Reds right-hander Homer Bailey threw the first no-hitter by a Cincinnati Red since 1988 when he no-hit the Pirates on Friday in a 1-0 victory at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. The no-hitter also improved the Reds' record to 95-62, pulling them even with the Nationals for the best mark in baseball.
The Reds scored one run in the first off Pittsburgh starter A.J. Burnett, but that was it for their offense. And it was all Bailey needed.
|More on Reds, Bailey|
"I just kept trying to put up zeroes, seeing how A.J. pitched against us all year," Bailey said after the game when interviewed on TV. "We only had the one run, so I just tried to keep putting up zeroes."
Burnett allowed seven hits and struck out five in eight innings.
The 26-year-old right-hander struck out 10 and walked one. The 10 strikeouts ties a career high.
Bailey didn't walk a batter until the seventh, when he walked Andrew McCutchen with one out. Clint Barmes reached first on an error by Scott Rolen in the third inning. The Pirates had just one ball hit out of the infield in the first six innings, when Alex Presley flied out to left to end the third.
"Honestly, I figured it out in about the sixth," Bailey said in a postgame news conference. "I needed five or six to get to 200 innings and that was a goal for me this season. I looked up to see how many innings I'd gone and saw a bunch of zeroes up there."
Bailey entered the game 12-10 with a 3.92 ERA, but 2-1 with a 2.52 ERA in September.
Bailey has also liked pitching at PNC Park, where he's 5-0 with a 1.19 ERA in six career starts. In his only other start in Pittsburgh this season, he allowed just four hits and a run in a complete-game effort on May 29. He's 8-2 with a 2.51 ERA in 12 career starts against the Pirates.
Bailey was brought up to the big leagues to great fanfare in 2007, but has been inconsisten so far in his career. This is his best season yet, winning a career-high 13 games with a 3.75 ERA. He also reached the 200 inning mark for the first time in his career.
"His progression's been unbelievable. He was a little hard-headed wwen he came in the league trying to throw it by guys," catcher Ryan Hanigan said. "He's a four-pitch pitcher and that's rare. They're all good pitches and he used them all tonight."
The Reds recorded just four outfield putouts in the game. The Pirates' best chance at a hit came in the eighth inning when Pedro Alvarez lined a ball to what would usually be the hole between the shortstop and third baseman, but the Reds had a shift on and Rolen was standing right where Alvarez hit it. The final out was a popout by Alex Presley to second baseman Brandon Phillips.
"I was thinking, 'Please don't hit the ball to me, please don't hit the ball to me,'" Phillips said in a postgame interview televised on Fox Sports Ohio. "But catching the last out, it means a lot. Every time they show it on TV, they're going to show me catching the last ball."
Please don't hit the ball to me, please don't hit the ball to me. But catching the last out, it means a lot. Every time they show it on TV, they're going to show me catching the last ball.
The Reds' last no-hitter was Tom Browning's perfect game in 1988. It's the 16th no-hitter in franchise history.
It was the seventh no-hitter in the big leagues this season, the third in the National League. The seven no-hitters this season ties the record for a big-league season, which was set in 1990.
Watch all 27 outs: