Three times, Cincinnati Reds starter Homer Bailey and A.J. Burnett matched up this season. Twice, Burnett won the battle, but Friday night, Bailey evened the series in epic fashion.
Bailey threw the 15th no-hitter in Reds history at PNC Park Friday night, dominating the Pirates in a 1-0 victory.
Bailey (13-10) became the first Red to throw a no-hitter since 1988, when Tom Browning threw a perfect game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sept. 16. He sliced his way through the Pirates' lineup. Only two Pirates reached base: Clint Barmes, on an error in the third inning, and Andrew McCutchen after a walk in the seventh.
The best contact the Pirates made came in the eighth. Pinch-hitter Travis Snider lined out to right and Pedro Alvarez lined to short.
The Pirates had not been no-hit since Bob Gibson of the St. Louis Cardinals did so in 1971. The Detroit Tigers' Justin Verlander almost no-hit them earlier this season before Josh Harrison singled in the ninth.
The no-hitter clinched the Pirates' 20th consecutive non-winning season. They can reach .500 by winning their next five games, but their next loss secures their 20th losing season in a row.
Bailey entered the game with a 7-2 record and a 2.83 career ERA against the Pirates. This season, that ERA climbed to 4.56 in four starts before Friday night. He had thrown two complete games in his career, both of them against the Pirates.
The Reds drafted David Dewitt Bailey with the seventh pick of the 2004 draft. He had a career 37-33 record in six major league seasons with a 4.59 ERA entering Friday's start. Bailey, 26, made leaps this year, starting more than 22 games and pitching more than 132 innings for the first time in his career. He also lowered his ERA below 4.00 for the first time this season.
Bailey's gem overshadowed Burnett's start. After the first inning, Burnett's command of his curveball improved and he pitched more effectively. He allowed one run on seven hits in eight innings.
Burnett found himself in all kinds of trouble in the first. Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart singled, and a walk to Joey Votto loaded the bases. Burnett fell behind, 3-1, to Todd Frazier, but Frazier flied out to right field to score a run. Jay Bruce hit into an inning-ending double play, and the Reds could only score one run.
Bill Brink: email@example.com and on Twitter @BrinkPG.