Last September Homer Bailey put the finishing touches on a no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates, but it was quickly forgotten in a year that saw 7 no-hitters thrown throughout the big leagues. Through the first 3 months of 2013, no one in the bigs had thrown a no-hitter, until Homer Bailey took the mound against the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday July 2nd, 2013 in Cincinnati.
He lost the perfect game in the top of the 7th with a walk to Gregor Blanco (on a full count), and even though the boos poured out of the grandstand, it was a ball and Gregor took the hard earned walk. As everyone knows, the vast majority of no hitters and perfect games have a game changing defensive moment, and that pivotal play of the game came later in the seventh off the bat of Buster Posey. With Blanco on second, Posey floated a ball between the first and second base bag, which Joey Votto was able to get to, but when he looked up for the pitcher who should have been covering the bag, Bailey was too far away to win the footrace to the bag, and it looked like the no-hitter would go the way of the perfect game. The quick thinking Votto spied Blanco speeding from second and heading for third, and he fired over to Todd Frazier who applied the tag, resulting in a fielder’s choice, and keeping the no-hit bid alive.
On the evening, Bailey threw just 109 pitches, while striking out 9 and walking 1, leaving him that close to the perfect game. This was a dominant performance by one of the best arms in baseball (still throwing 97 in the top of the 9th) that stands in stark contrast to the no-hitters thrown by the likes of Francisco Liriano and Edwin Jackson in recent years which saw 140+ pitches. The Giants were left guessing for most the night, and baseball fans across the country sat back and enjoyed the show.
With the no-hitter, Bailey joins the elite company of Nolan Ryan who was the last pitcher in baseball history to throw 2 consecutive no-hitters (September 28th 1974/ June 1st 1975). Will Bailey come close to Nolan Ryan’s 7 no-hitters? Extremely doubtful, but to throw the last 2 no-hitters in the big leagues is certainly worth notice.