CINCINNATI — Homer Bailey fretted for a moment as first baseman Joey Votto reached to pluck the ball out of the air for the final out. What next? Raise both arms in celebration.
Bailey has this no-hitter celebration down pat — just like his idol, Nolan Ryan.
Another hard-throwin' Texan who wears No. 34 made some no-hit history Tuesday night. Bailey threw his second in 10 months and led the Cincinnati Reds' infield celebration with arms raised after a 3-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
There was a bit of been-there, done-that in the humid night air.
"It's something I've already done, so I knew what to expect," Bailey said of his easy-as-could-be step into rare territory.
Bailey became the third Reds pitcher with more than one no-hitter, joining Jim Maloney and Johnny Vander Meer — still the only big leaguer to toss two in a row. Bailey beat the Pirates 1-0 in Pittsburgh last Sept. 28 and got another 17 starts later.
This one was at home with 27,509 fans standing and chanting "Homer! Homer!" as he finished it off in a tidy 102 pitches with one walk and nine strikeouts. The defending World Series champions had only one moment when they thought they might get a hit.
"It was a pretty easy no-hitter," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We didn't hit too many balls hard. There weren't any tough plays. We only hit a couple balls decent. He was really overmatching us all night."
Yes, it was reminiscent of that Hall of Famer from Texas who holds the record with seven no-hitters. And they now have more than just their home state in common.
Bailey threw the last of the majors' seven no-hitters last season, and now the first of 2013. The last pitcher to throw one no-hitter and then another before anyone else in the majors accomplished the feat was Ryan, according to STATS. Baseball's career strikeout king did it for the California Angels on Sept. 28, 1974, against Minnesota, and June 1, 1975, vs. Baltimore.
"Obviously being from Texas and what a legend he is," said Bailey, who wears No. 34 in tribute to his boyhood hero. "To do it once is extra special. To do it twice — I don't really have the words for it right now."
"He comes from the state of Texas that has produced a lot of no-hitters," said Reds manager Dusty Baker, who made the final out in Ryan's fifth no-hitter. "It means a lot — and he's still got some time left."
Bailey (5-6) dominated the defending champs, who are going through quite a slump. It was so tidy that there weren't many close calls.
He walked Gregor Blanco leading off the seventh, the only Giants batter to reach base. Blanco advanced on a groundout, then made the out that settled San Francisco's only close call.
Buster Posey hit a soft one-hopper that pulled Votto away from first base. Bailey got a slow break off the mound to cover the bag, setting up what would have been a close play. Maybe Posey beats Bailey to the base for an infield hit.
"That would have been a sad way to lose a no-hitter," Baker said.
Instead, Votto saw Blanco break for third and threw him out.