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Bailey Throws First No-Hitter of the Season

By Andrew Goodman

Yesterday, for the 280th time in the history of baseball and for the 237th time in the modern era, a pitcher retired 27 batters without allowing a hit. The no-hitter is a baseball phenomenon. It can occur on any day, by any pitcher. The worst pitcher in the league or the best pitcher in the league can complete this feat. It is simply a day of near pitching perfection that most pitchers can only dream about. Yesterday, for the second time in his career, Cincinnati Reds' pitcher Homer Bailey completed this marvel.

Bailey had a perfect game through six innings, but walked Gregor Blanco to lead off the seventh inning. Two batters later, Buster Posey almost spoiled the no-no with a soft hit to first base. Bailey thought first baseman Joey Votto was going to catch the ball on a fly, so was slow getting over to the bag. However, thinking on his toes, Votto fired the ball over to third to get Blanco out, who was try to advance from second. Posey was safe at first, but Votto's heads-up thinking made the play a fielder's choice rather than an infield hit. "That would have been a sad way to lose a no-hitter," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "Joey had the presence of mind to get the lead runner and preserve the no-hitter via the force." However, Bailey remained confident and continued throwing his best stuff into the ninth inning, hitting 97mph with his fastball at the end of the game. Following a groundout by Blanco, the man who ruined his perfect game just two innings earlier, the Reds dugout erupted with excitement and charged the mound, crowding Bailey on the mound as the celebration began.

What makes yesterday's no-hitter unique, is that Bailey accomplished something that no other pitcher had done since Nolan Ryan did the same thing in 1975. Bailey threw this no-hitter less than 10 months after his no-hitter last season. That was the last no-hitter of the 2012 season, and there has not been one since, making last night's outing the first no-hitter of the 2013 season. No pitcher has thrown the last no-hitter of a season and the first no-hitter of the following season since Nolan Ryan ended the 1974 season with a no-no and threw the first no-no of the 1975 season.

Homer Bailey faced only 28 batters last night in the Reds 3-0 victory against the San Francisco Giants. This was the 16th no-hitter in franchise history for the Reds. Bailey threw only 109 pitches and struck out nine batters to make for an exemplary performance. When asked about the game, Bailey said "This one's a little different, being in Cincinnati." He followed that up by saying "We just kind of went one pitch at a time. At the end, I just kind of looked at the glove and threw it as hard as I could, I guess."