Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 9/29/12

It’s been a while since the Pirates were no-hit. Somehow, during this unprecedented stretch of futility that reached 20 years tonight, it had never happened. The last no-hitter against the Bucs was by Bob Gibson in 1971. With all the terrible lineups, all the ace pitchers they’ve gone up against, and all the close calls they’ve had, I’m frankly amazed they managed to avoid it for this long.

Not anymore. Homer Bailey – a fine young pitcher, but no superstar or anything – spun a work of art on Friday night, dominating the Pirates from start to finish and tossing the seventh no-hitter in Major League  Baseball this season. It was both a great outing by Bailey and a terrible night for Pirates hitters, obviously. The Bucs didn’t even hit many balls hard…Pedro Alvarez lined out in the eight, and Garrett Jones hit one to the track in the seventh, but I think that was about it. They struck out ten times and reached base just twice: when Scott Rolen booted Clint Barmes‘ ground ball, and  when Andrew McCutchen walked in the seventh.

With one out, Cutch stole second (barely) and then took off again for third…and was thrown out. A successful steal would’ve given the Bucs the chance to score without the benefit of a hit – which would’ve been great, considering the fact that it was only 1-0 Reds. A.J. Burnett pitched a fantastic game, but was obviously outdueled by Bailey. A.J. loaded the bases in the first inning with no outs, escaped with just one run on a sac-fly, and was brilliant after that.

Being no-hit is obviously embarrassing and all that, but normally I would pretty much chalk it up as another loss. Would you really be feeling so much better if Alex Presley had blooped a single in the ninth and the game ended one batter later? No-hitters happen – to all kinds of teams – and are mostly about a great pitching performance and some luck, not a terrible offense. That’s the argument I’d be trying to make under most circumstances. BUT…I can’t really do it today. The Pirates lost their 81st game, essentially completing their historically awful collapse (they can’t have a winning season now, and the next loss will clinch a losing season) by getting no-hit. The symbolism/timing/emotion involved is overwhelming. It’s perfectly fitting, really. I can’t imagine what this team will do NEXT to torture its fanbase…

Reds 1, Pirates 0 / Box / 2012 Record: 76-81 / Next: Saturday, vs. Reds, 7:05

MVP: Burnett (+.198) / LVP: Presley (-.109) / Key play: McCutchen CS at 3rd

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