The man with the worst possible name for a pitcher now has two career no-hitters.
Homer Bailey of the Cincinnati Reds, who threw a no-hitter 10 months ago in the final week of the 2012 season, did it again Tuesday night against the San Francisco Giants at Great American Ball Park. Bailey struck out nine, and allowed only a leadoff walk to Gregor Blanco in the seventh inning, for the first no-hitter in Major League Baseball this season.
"I've had one, and two is definitely just as special. But you know what? I just try to go out here every time and win a game," Bailey said in a TV interview, his still head showing traces of celebratory shaving cream after being pied by teammates.
Bailey is the 31st pitcher in history to throw multiple no-hitters, with Bailey's first coming against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sept. 28. He's the fourth active pitcher to have two no-no's, joining Justin Verlander, Roy Halladay and Mark Buehrle. He's also the third Reds pitcher, joining Johnny Vander Meer and Jim Maloney, to notch multiple no-no's.
Seven no-hitters happened in 2012, but we only had close calls this season — notably with Julio Teheran, Anibal Sanchez and Yu Darvish — until Bailey set down Giants batters Brandon Crawford, Tony Abreu and Gregor Blanco with limited drama in the ninth inning. And now, Bailey owns the two most recent no-hitters in the majors.
Before the top of the ninth, Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper said he couldn't remember many or any hard-hit balls, and analyst Mike Krukow added that there were no particularly challenging defensive plays — which makes Bailey's workmanlike feat seemingly unusual. It was simple domination with a four-seam fastball that got faster as the night wore on. Bailey was clocked at 98 mph in the final inning.
After the game, Bailey said he was grateful that pitching coach Bryan Price had been present for both of his no-hitters, and that manager Dusty Baker saw this one in person after being hospitalized for Bailey's no-no against the Pirates.
"I'm really glad he got to see this," Bailey said.
Bailey, who has taken a while to develop into one of the better pitchers in the National League, came in with a 3.88 ERA this season and a 4.42 mark for his career — both of which are misleading numbers because his pitches roughly half of his games at hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park.
It was the 16th no-hitter for the Reds and 16th time the Giants have been no-hit, the first time since Kevin Millwood of the Phillies did it in 2003.