CINCINNATI — Following the final out of his second-career no-hitter Tuesday night, Cincinnati Reds right-hander Homer Bailey raised both arms high in the air, just as did last September when he threw his first career no-no in Pittsburgh.
This one was in Great American Ball Park, and it put him in some lofty company.
Bailey, who had a perfect game through six innings, finished with the 16th no-hitter in franchise history, striking out nine in a 3-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants. He became the 31st pitcher to throw multiple complete-game no-hitters in regular-season play.
Bailey, Cincinnati’s first-round draft choice in 2004 out of La Grange, Texas, owns the last two no-hitters in the major leagues, the first to do so since Hall of Famer and fellow Texan Nolan Ryan in 1974 and ’75.
“Obviously, being from Texas and knowing what kind of legend he is, it’s special,” Bailey said. “To do it twice … I don’t have words right now.”
With the crowd of 27,509 standing in the ninth inning, Bailey retired Brandon Crawford on a ground ball back to the mound, then struck out pinch hitter Tony Abreu swinging. He got Blanco to ground to third baseman Todd Frazier to end it.
“When that ball was hit to Frazier and he was making the play on it, you get a little nervous,” Bailey said. “But once Joey (Votto) squeezed it, I was like, ‘Yeah.’”
The Giants had only one baserunner, when Gregor Blanco walked on a 3-2 pitch leading off the seventh inning.
Bailey also threw a no-hitter against the Pirates at PNC Park on Sept. 28, 2012.
“It’s funny,” Bailey said. “I was talking to Joey Votto during spring training, and he said, ‘Can you throw another hitter?’ I said, ‘Can you win another MVP?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘So can I.’ But I was only joking.”
In fact, Votto might have saved Bailey’s no-hitter in the seventh. The first baseman fielded Buster Posey’s slow roller, and when it appeared Bailey wasn’t going to cover first in time, Votto instead threw to third to retire Blanco on a fielder’s choice. Pablo Sandoval struck out to end the inning.
Bailey thought he would beat Posey to the bag, but Reds manager Dusty Baker wasn’t so sure.
“The play that saved the no-hitter was the play Votto made,” Baker said. “I don’t think he would have beat Posey to first base. That would have been a sad way to lose a no-hitter.”
Brandon Phillips gave Bailey some breathing room with a two-run home run in the sixth.
“It’s always nice to get insurance,” Phillips said. “It felt good off the bat. You know, everybody in the dugout was just acting normal. Homer was staying focused, just doing his thing.”
Bailey threw 109 pitches, 74 of them strikes.
“Early in the game, he was throwing quality fastballs for strike one and then we were expanding the zone with the slider,” Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan said. “As the game goes on, he tends to get stronger.”
“He overpowered us,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “It was impressive. It was a pretty easy no-hitter. We didn’t hit too many balls hard. There weren’t any tough plays. We thought we’d find a way to get a few hits. He showed no signs of fatigue tonight. In the ninth inning, he was still bringing it.”
It was the first no-hitter pitched in Cincinnati since Tom Browning’s perfect game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sept. 16, 1988.
Bailey (5-6) retired the first 18 batters he faced before Blanco walked to begin the seventh.
Bailey struck out three straight batters in the sixth. He went to 3-2 on Crawford in that inning, just his third full count to that point.
“At that point in the game, you have to have an ‘I don’t care’ attitude and just fire it in there,” Bailey said.
Giants starter Tim Lincecum kept it a one-run game until the sixth, when Votto singled and Phillips followed with a line drive home run to left, making the score 3-0.
Lincecum (4-9) allowed three runs over 5 1/3 innings.
“Tip your cap to a performance like that. He did a great job out there,” Lincecum said of Bailey. “I just struggled overall. I was getting behind batters. I need to attack the zone better.”
In the first inning, Shin-Soo Choo doubled off Hunter Pence’s glove in right and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Joey Votto, putting Cincinnati ahead 1-0.
Choo’s hit initially was ruled a homer, but after a two-minute, 15-second review, the umpires concluded the ball caromed off Pence’s glove and did not clear the fence.
The closest the Giants came to a hit through six innings was on Sandoval’s fifth-inning grounder. Shortstop Zack Cozart ranged far to his left to field the ball behind second base, and he threw out Sandoval at first.
“We’re in a tough stretch offensively,” Bochy said. “Hopefully, this is rock bottom and this is as low as it will get. But I don’t know what team would’ve hit (Bailey) tonight.”
NOTES: It was the 16th time in franchise history the Giants had been no-hit, and the 11th time in the San Francisco era. The last time they were no-hit was by the Philadelphia Phillies’ Kevin Millwood on April 27, 2003. .. In addition to the 31 pitchers with multiple regular-season no-hitters, Roy Halladay threw one in the regular season and one in the postseason. Four other pitchers threw one complete-game no-hitter and participated in a multi-pitcher no-hitter. … Giants LHP Mike Kickham, who allowed seven earned runs in 2 2/3 innings Monday night, was moved to the bullpen, where he’ll assume a long-relief role. Kickham is 0-3 with a 13.94 ERA in three starts. .. Reds LF Ryan Ludwick, on the disabled list since suffering a shoulder injury on Opening Day, has resumed baseball activity, including hitting off a tee. .. Giants INF Joaquin Arias, who hadn’t played since straining his left hamstring on June 24, was available to pinch-hit but didn’t get in the game.
PHILLIES 3, PIRATES 1: Slumping Ryan Howard helped cool off the streaking Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
The first baseman broke a 0-for-22 skid with an RBI single that keyed a three-run sixth inning as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Pirates 3-1 at PNC Park.
The Phillies snapped the National League Central-leading Pirates’ nine-game winning streak, their longest since 2004.
Howard had struck out 12 times during his slide when he stepped to the plate against rookie Brandon Cumpton in the top of the sixth inning of a scoreless game. Chase Utley had reached on a fielder’s choice and Jimmy Rollins followed with a single to put runners on the corners for Howard.
Howard then lined a single to left-center to score Utley. Domonic Brown followed with a sacrifice fly and Delmon Young made it 3-0 by ripping a double to the 410-foot gap in left-center field.
That was enough to give rookie Jonathan Pettibone (4-3) his first win since May 14.
Pettibone gave up only one run and three hits 5 2/3 innings with three walks and six strikeouts. The right-hander came into the game with a 6.39 road ERA in 31 innings.
Six relievers combined to pitch 3 1/3 scoreless innings, with Jonathan Papelbon working a 1-2-3 ninth for his 16th save in 20 opportunities.
Howard and Michael Young each had two hits for the Phillies.
Cumpton (0-1), making a spot start, took a shutout into the sixth inning but was lifted after Young’s double. Recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis before the game to make his third major-league start, Cumpton allowed three runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings with one walk and three strikeouts.
Garrett Jones accounted for Pittsburgh’s lone run when he homered to the seats in center field in the bottom of the sixth. It was Jones’ eighth home run of the season and chased Pettibone.
Down 3-1, the Pirates loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth inning but Phillies manager Charlie Manuel called on Justin DeFratus, who struck out Jordy Mercer to escape the jam.
The Phillies had lost seven straight games and 13 of their last 14 when scoring three runs or less.
Both teams missed a chance to score in the early innings.
Brown led off the Phillies’ second with a single to right field and continued to second when Travis Snider misplayed the ball for an error. However, Snider recovered in time for Brown to be thrown out at third base.
Pittsburgh loaded the bases with two outs in the third, but Jones struck out swinging against Pettibone.
BREWERS 4, NATIONALS 0: Juan Francisco, who struck out with the bases loaded in his previous at-bat, broke up a scoreless game with a two-run double in the eighth inning off reliever Drew Storen as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Washington Nationals 4-0 on Tuesday night.
Two batters after the Francisco hit, Martin Maldonado hit a RBI double that bounced off the grove of left fielder Bryce Harper on the warning track. Jeff Bianchi followed with a hit-and-run single to left to score Maldonado from second for a 4-0 lead.
The win broke a six-game losing streak overall and a five-game road skid for the Brewers (33-49). Washington (42-41) has not been three games above .500 since May 18 as Storen fell to 2-2 while giving up four runs in the eighth.
The winning pitcher for the Brewers was Jim Henderson (3-2). Michael Gonzalez, a former Nationals reliever, worked the eighth for Milwaukee. Francisco Rodriguez came on in the ninth to nail down the win despite allowing two singles to start the inning.
Washington starter Stephen Strasburg escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the sixth when he fanned Francisco looking on an 81 mph curveball and then retired Sean Halton on an inning-ending strikeout.
Strasburg (four walks, eight strikeouts, 105 pitches) went seven scoreless innings and allowed three hits before he was lifted for pinch-hitter Chad Tracy in the bottom of the seventh with the game scoreless.
Brewers starter Wily Peralta was visited on the mound by medical staff after he appeared to slip on a pitch to Ryan Zimmerman with one out in the sixth.
Peralta threw one warm-up pitch before facing Zimmerman again. But after the next pitch, manager Ron Roenicke came to the mound and Peralta left the game with a 2-2 count to Zimmerman.
Peralta gave up three hits and no runs in 5 1/3 innings. He has a left hamstring strain and is listed as day to day.
John Axford, who has not allowed a run in 23 outings, came in and retired Zimmerman and walked Adam LaRoche, who was thrown out trying to steal for the third out.
The Nationals left five runners on base in the first three innings against Peralta, who entered with a 5.58 ERA.
Ian Desmond grounded out with the bases loaded to end the first, and Denard Span lined out to end the second as rookie left fielder Sean Halton made a diving catch on the wet grass.
NOTES: Roenicke held OF Carlos Gomez, hitting .309 with 12 homers, out of the lineup with a nagging shoulder. “He is sore,” Roenicke said. … Washington manager Davey Johnson thinks Harper should take part in the All-Star Game if chosen, even though Harper has missed 37 games. “I think it is a great honor. I think you go,” Johnson said. … Milwaukee SS Jeff Bianchi, batting eighth in the starting lineup, is from Lancaster, Pa., less than three hours from the nation’s capital, and said he had family in the stands. He entered the game with a .254 average and had made just two errors in 38 games. Bianchi made his first career appearance in the outfield (in left) on Monday. … Washington C Wilson Ramos (left hamstring) was retired in his first two at-bats Tuesday in a rehab appearance with Class A Potomac. Johnson said before the game he hopes to have Ramos join the Nationals later this week. C Kurt Suzuki has started nearly every game while Ramos has been on the DL.