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Pirates get no-hit, have 20th straight losing year

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PITTSBURGH (AP) - On a night when the Pittsburgh Pirates failed to get a hit, they reached another disappointing milestone.

Homer Bailey threw the season's seventh no-hitter, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 1-0 victory over the Pirates on Friday night.

Pittsburgh (76-81) assured itself of a 20th consecutive non-winning season with the loss, extending its major North American professional sports record.

However, that was lost in no-hit history.

The seven no-hitters match the modern record for most in a season, tying 1990 and 1991. There were eight no-hitters in 1884.

The last no-hitter for the Reds was a perfect game by Tom Browning on Sept. 16, 1988. This was the 15th no-hitter in Reds history.

Bailey (13-10) walked one and struck out 10. He threw 115 pitches and retired the side in order in the ninth, striking out pinch-hitter Brock Holt then getting pinch-hitter Michael McKenry and Alex Presley to both pop out.

When Presley's popup was caught by second baseman Brandon Phillips, Bailey was mobbed near the mound by teammates who doused him with water.

It was the first time Pirates manager Clint Hurdle had experienced a no-hitter at the major-league level.

"I finally got a taste of one," Hurdle said. "And I can tell you the taste isn't very good."

The loss continued the Pirates' downhill spiral. They have gone 13-36 since moving a season-high 16 games over .500 on Aug. 8 with a 63-47 record.

It was the first time Pittsburgh had been no-hit since Hall of Famer Bob Gibson pitched the lone no-hitter of his career in 1971.

"Bailey was hitting his spots," said Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, whose batting average fell to .330 by going 0 for 3. He varied his pitches. He stayed down and away with a lot of fastballs, hitting his spots every time. He didn't give in at all."

A.J. Burnett (16-9) allowed one run and seven hits in eight innings with five strikeouts and one walk.

"The way A.J. pitched, it was going to take almost nothing short of a no-hitter to beat him," Hurdle said.

Bailey came into the game having pitched 195 innings this season. He was hoping to throw five more to reach 200.

Bailey wound up doing much more than that.

"I looked up at the scoreboard (after the fifth inning) to see if I had hit 200 and saw a couple of zeroes," Bailey said. "That's when I knew I had a chance at a no-hitter. It's not something you think about doing."

The 26-year-old Bailey improved to 5-0 in his six career starts with a 1.40 ERA at PNC Park. All three of his complete games and both his shutouts have come against Pittsburgh.

Cincinnati, which clinched the NL Central title last Saturday, improved to 95-62. The Reds are tied with Washington for the best record in the NL.

The other no-hitters this season were: the Chicago White Sox's Philip Humber, the Los Angeles Angels' Jered Weaver, the New York Mets' Johan Santana, San Francisco's Matt Cain, Seattle's Felix Hernandez and a combined six-pitcher effort by the Mariners. Humber, Cain and Hernandez each had a perfect game.

It was the first no-hitter of Bailey's six-year career.

"I don't think there is any reason why there have been so many no-hitters thrown this year," Bailey said. "There is a real fine line there in throwing a no-hitter. A bloop can fall in the outfield or an infielder can be in the wrong position and there goes your hit. You have to be extremely fortunate to throw a no-hitter and we had luck on our side tonight."

Hurdle, though, said Bailey had more than luck going for him. Hurdle sensed Bailey and catcher Ryan Hanigan were on the same page right from the first inning.

"They were spot on with almost every pitch," Hurdle said. "He kept throwing fastball up and away and breaking balls down and in and it was just an effective combination."

Bailey retired the first six batters before third baseman Scott Rolen failed to handle Clint Barmes' ground ball leading off the third inning for an error. Bailey then set down 13 straight until walking McCutchen with one out in the seventh while clinging to the one-run lead.

McCutchen stole second but then was thrown out by Hanigan attempting to steal third. Garrett Jones flied out to the warning track in right field to end the inning.

Cincinnati needed to make just one above-average defensive play behind Bailey. Left fielder Todd Frazier ran down Presley's flare toward the foul line to end the third inning. With the Reds employing a shift, left-handed Pedro Alvarez lined out to Rolen leading off the eighth.

"I thought the no-hitter was gone when Alvarez hit that ball but fortunately the shift was on," Bailey said.

The Reds scored the game's lone run in the first inning on Frazier's sacrifice fly after loading the bases with no outs on singles by Phillips and Zach Cozart and a walk to Joey Votto.

Phillips, Cozart and Rolen all had two hits.

NOTES: Pirates 2B Neil Walker will miss the rest of the season because of lower back soreness that has limited him to just eight games in September. ... Reds bench coach and acting manager Chris Speier said he had a telephone conversation Friday with Dusty Baker, who has missed the last nine games, and said the veteran manager "is feeling very, very good and looking forward to getting back." Baker is scheduled to rejoin the Reds on Monday night when they open a three-game series at St. Louis to end the regular season. ... Reds LF Ryan Ludwick, who has missed eight straight games with tightness in his left groin, is expected to return to the lineup Sunday. ... Cincinnati RHP Mike Leake (8-9, 4.73) will face Pittsburgh RHP Kyle McPherson (0-2, 3.54) on Saturday night.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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