Bailey Fires No-Hitter

The Cincinnati rotation has gotten the job done all season. The quintet has provided all but one of the Reds starts with only five games remaining this year. The best outing of the bunch happened last night when Homer Bailey fired the fifteenth no-hitter in franchise history. Their 1-0 win at Pittsburgh leaves them only a half game behind Washington for the best record in the majors.

Pitching has been a key to the Reds success all season. Much attention has been earned by Johnny Cueto's drive for a Cy Young, Aroldis Chapman's phenomenal season out of the pen, and Mat Latos's emergence to justify the big deal that brought him to Cincinnati. However, Friday was Homer Bailey's day. The right-hander fired the fifteenth no-hitter in franchise history at Pittsburgh. He became the first Red to do so since Tom Browning's perfect game in 1988 as the Reds won 1-0.

The Reds struck early after Brandon Phillips led off the game with a single. He advanced on a wild pitch and a single by Zach Cozart before Todd Frazier plated him with a sacrifice fly. It was the only run the Reds would score, but thanks to Bailey it was the only one they would need. Phillips, Cozart, and Scott Rolen each contributed two singles to Cincinnati offense.

Bailey struck out ten batters on 115 pitches and won his thirteenth decision on the year while bringing his ERA down to 3.75. He faced one batter over the minimum, allowing only two base runners. Clint Barmes was left on base in the third inning after arriving on an error. The only other Buc runner was Andrew McCutchen who was erased attempting to steal third base after drawing a walk. In five starts at Pittsburgh Bailey is now 5-0 with a 1.40 ERA, including all three of his complete games.

This has been the best season in the six year career for the former first round selection out of Texas. Perhaps lack of pitching back in 2007 caused the then 21-year old to be rushed to the majors too soon. His ERA was 5.76 in nine games that season and he came back the next year to get lit up close to eight in eight starts. He wasn't faring much better for most of 2009 until he had a tremendous finish, going 6-1 with a 1.70 ERA over his last nine games. Bailey has managed a mid-four ERA the previous three seasons while frequently missing action on the DL. Prior to this year he'd never made more than 22 MLB appearances in a season. Last night was his 32nd start of 2012 and he surpassed the 200 inning mark.

"Before I recognized that a no-hitter was going on, the whole time I'm just thinking, 'Put up a zero,'" Bailey said. "If a guy gets on, try to get a double play, make this pitch, get this out. A.J. (Burnett) has done pretty well against us."

Put up zeros he did. The Reds are now 95-62 on the year and tied in the loss column with Washington for the best record in the N.L. With five games left in the season it appears that this year's edition will finish with one of the ten highest win totals in franchise history. One more will tie them with the 99 Reds for most victories in a season since the 76 Big Red Machine repeated as world series champions.

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