TOP OF THE NINTH: Bailey made a nice play on a high-bouncing comebacker from the Giants’ No. 8 hitter, Brandon Crawford, to get the first out in the ninth and struck out pinch-hitter Tony Abreu with a 97 mph fastball for the second out. Gregor Blanco, who drew the walk in the seventh inning to break up the perfect game, then slapped an easy grounder to Reds third baseman Todd Frazier to complete Bailey’s no-no.
TOP OF THE EIGHTH: Bailey got Hunter Pence to pop up on the infield and Brandon Belt to fly out to right, then Andres Torres lined out to center. The Reds are still up 3-0 heading into the bottom of the eighth.
Bailey, who threw a 115-pitch no-hitter last year against the Pirates, is at 96 pitches with three outs to go.
History may be in the works tonight in Cincinnati.
Reds right-hander Homer Bailey has thrown a no-hitter through seven innings against the defending World Series-champion Giants. Bailey brought a perfect game into the top of the seventh but issued a leadoff walk to Gregor Blanco, who then advanced to second base on a Marco Scutaro groundout. Buster Posey nearly broke up the no-no one batter later when he blooped a ball between second and first base but the Reds’ Joey Votto made a heads-up play and threw to third, catching Blanco off guard on a fielder’s choice. We’ll be tracking this the rest of the way. Cincy is leading San Francisco by a score of 3-0 in the bottom of the seventh.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.