Homer Bailey throws a no-hitter against the Pirates

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UPDATE: He did it! Homer Bailey has done it. He threw a no-hitter tonight against the Pirates as part of a 1-0 win.

Bailey struck out pinch-hitter Brock Holt swinging to begin the ninth before getting pinch-hitter Michael McKenry to pop out to left field for the second out. He then Alex Presley to pop out to Brandon Phillips in shallow center field to finish off the no-hitter.

Bailey is the first Reds pitcher with a no-hitter since Tom Browning threw a perfect game against the Dodgers on September 16, 1988. This is the seventh no-hitter in MLB this season, joining Felix Hernandez (perfect game), Matt Cain (perfect game), the six-pitcher no-hitter by the Mariners, Johan Santana, Jered Weaver and Philip Humber (perfect game). There haven’t been seven no-hitters in a season since 1991.

Bailey tied a career-high with 10 strikeouts and needed 115 pitches to get it done. This no-hitter won’t be without some controversy, as the play with Scott Rolen in the third inning could have easily been ruled a hit instead of an error. Still, the Pirates had the rest of the game to get a hit and couldn’t do it. Can’t lose sleep over that. Congrats to Bailey on his first career no-no.

By the way, this was the Pirates’ 81st loss of the season, ensuring their 20th straight season without a winning record. I’m sorry, Pirates fans.

9:18 PM: Bailey has now held the Pirates hitless through eight.

Travis Snider pinch-hit for Jose Tabata to lead off the eighth inning and flew out to left field. Pedro Alvarez then hit a liner right at Scott Rolen for the second out. Jeff Clement then pinch-hit for Clint Barmes and struck out swinging.

Bailey has nine strikeouts on the night and has thrown only 99 pitches, so he plenty of bullets left. The Pirates have Rod Barajas, the pitcher spot and Alex Presley due up in the bottom of the ninth.

By the way, the Pirates have not been no-hit since Bob Gibson did it on August 14, 1971.

9:02 PM: The Pirates’ second-half collapse has been pretty depressing to watch, but they could be reaching new depths tonight against the Reds.

Homer Bailey has held the Pirates hitless through seven innings. The Reds currently lead it 1-0 thanks to a first-inning sacrifice fly by Todd Frazier.

Bailey has only allowed two baserunners all night, one on a fielding error by Scott Rolen in the third inning and the other via a walk to Andrew McCutchen in the seventh. McCutchen stole second base, but was then thrown out trying to steal third. Bailey has eight strikeouts and has thrown 57 out of 89 pitches for strikes.

The Pirates will send Jose Tabata, Pedro Alvarez and Clint Barmes to the plate in the bottom of the eighth. Stay tuned to see if Bailey can make a little history.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.