In the future, reliever Sam LeCure might start stretching in the bottom of the eighth if a Reds pitcher has a no-hitter, not because he might be needed to pitch, but because it’s a long run from the bullpen to the celebration in the infield at Great American Ball Park.
“You burn your legs coming out of the bullpen,” LeCure said.
The Reds relievers were the last ones to the party Tuesday night when Homer Bailey completed his second career no-hitter by getting Gregor Blanco to ground out to third for the final out of a 3-0 victory. LeCure reached the pile in the infield at about the same time Jack Hannahan and Chris Heisey were dumping a bucket of red Powerade on Bailey.
The moment meant even more to LeCure because he and Bailey were teammates all the way back in 2006 with Single-A Sarasota.
“It was awesome,” LeCure said. “It’s pretty special to me, probably more than a lot of these guys, because I’ve seen him progress through the years. There’s been some light shed on it, how he’s grown not only as a pitcher, but as a person.”
LeCure said the relievers didn’t mention the word no-hitter in the bullpen. They were too busy charting pitches so they would know how many Bailey had thrown and when they might need to start getting ready.
“We don’t talk about it,” LeCure said. “Those words aren’t said. Everyone said, ‘We have something happening.’ That’s about as close as you’ll get.”
Wet celebration: Hannahan and Heisey, who have adjacent lockers in the Reds clubhouse, were proud of their marksmanship with that bucket of Powerade. They said they started plotting their assault with one out in the ninth. They planned to use a bucket of water, but Devin Mesoraco got to it first.
“We hit our target,” Hannahan said. “Direct hit. It was a little odd getting there. The crowd kind of separated. I didn’t really see where (Bailey) was. Heisey had him in his targets.”
No-hit facts: Bailey and catcher Ryan Hanigan are the first battery mates to combine for no-hitters in the regular season since Kansas City catcher Fran Healy and pitcher Steve Busby in 1973 and 1974.
The Phillies’ Carlos Ruiz caught Roy Halladay’s perfect game in the regular season in 2010 and his no-hitter against the Reds in the 2010 playoffs.
Rested bullpen: With Bronson Arroyo throwing all six innings in Monday’s 8-1, rain-shortened victory and Bailey going the distance Tuesday, the Reds bullpen couldn’t complain of overuse going into the third game of the series Wednesday.
“It seems like they’re either overworked or underworked,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “Very rarely is it perfect.”
Today’s game: Mike Leake (7-3, 2.52 ERA) starts for the Reds at 1:10 p.m. today against Matt Cain (5-4, 4.29) in the final game of the series. Leake was the Reds’ best pitcher in June, going 3-1 with a 1.76 ERA in six starts.
Leake has allowed two earned runs in eight of his last nine starts. He ranks ninth in baseball in ERA.
Ticket deal: The Reds are offering fans four tickets for $34 to see Bailey’s next scheduled start on Sunday against the Mariners at Great American Ball Park. Bailey’s uniform number is 34. Fans will get four view level seats in the deal for the 1:10 p.m. game.