Pittsburgh, PA – Homer sweet home.
All three of Homer Bailey's complete games have come at PNC Park, but none had the ramifications of his gem on Friday night.
Bailey tossed the first Reds no-hitter in 24 years and sealed another non-winning season for the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 1-0 Cincinnati win.
Bailey equaled an MLB modern day record by throwing the seventh no-hitter this season. There were also seven no-hitters hurled in 1990 and 1991. Three of those no-hitters this year have been perfect games.
"I knew it was going on," Bailey said of the no-hitter. "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."
Alex Presley popped out to second baseman Brandon Phillips in short right- center field to end the game.
Once Phillips squeezed Presley's pop up, Bailey raised both arms in the air and shared a hug with catcher Ryan Hanigan before the rest of his teammates mobbed him near the pitcher's mound. Bronson Arroyo gave his teammate a celebratory shower of Gatorade.
"Catching the last out means a lot," Phillips said. "I'm just glad to be part of history."
This was the 15th no-hitter in Reds franchise history and first since Tom Browning's perfect game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sept. 16, 1988. Bailey is the first Reds right-hander to throw a no-hitter since Hall of Famer Tom Seaver June 16, 1978 against St. Louis.
The only blemishes preventing Bailey (13-10) from a perfect game was Scott Rolen's error at third base in the third, and Bailey's one-out, four-pitch walk to Andrew McCutchen in the seventh.
"The maturation of a pitcher," Reds interim manager Chris Speier said. "I'm just really really proud of him. He's done a great job against this team in this ballpark."
The 26-year-old Bailey improved to 5-0 with a 1.40 ERA in six career starts at PNC Park.
Bailey threw 74 of his 115 pitches for strikes. He struck out a career high-tying 10 for the Reds, who are tied with the Washington Nationals for the best record in the National League. The Nationals fell to the St. Louis Cardinals earlier on Friday.
"His progression's been unbelievable," Hanigan said. "He's a four-pitch pitcher and that's really rare."
Bailey's no-hitter notched the Pirates' 20th straight non-winning season.
Pittsburgh, on a free fall since it was a season-best 63-47 on Aug 8., has gone 13-34 since then.
The Pirates were no-hit for the first time since August 14, 1971 when Hall of Famer Bob Gibson accomplished the feat for the Cardinals. Pittsburgh won the World Series that year.
Pittsburgh's biggest threat came in the seventh.
McCutchen stole second following his one-out walk, but was thrown out by Hanigan while trying to swipe third. Two pitches later, Garrett Jones lofted a deep fly ball to the warning track in right field, which would've brought McCutchen home and tied the contest.
The game's only run came in the opening frame.
Phillips led off with a single to left field and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After Zack Cozart singled, Joey Votto walked to load the bases with none away.
Phillips scored on a Todd Frazier sacrifice fly to right field, but A.J. Burnett (16-9) limited the damage after he induced Jay Bruce into an inning- ending 4-6-3 double play.
Burnett surrendered a run on seven hits and a walk over eight frames.
"He was very effective again," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He had a very good breaking ball ... He pitched a very, very good ball game."
The Chicago White Sox's Philip Humber, the San Francisco Giants' Matt Cain and the Seattle Mariners' Felix Hernandez were the three hurlers to fire perfect games this season ... The New York Mets' Johan Santana, the M's Kevin Millwood and five others, and the LA Angels' Jered Weaver accounted for the other no- hitters this season ... There were eight no-hitters thrown in 1884 ... This was Bailey's second complete game this year.