homer bailey no hitter 2If you’re reading this, I appreciate it. I really do. You’ve got to have a troubling affinity for masochism to willingly read about the Giants getting no-hit by Homer Bailey. As BASG heads out for a long, well-deserved vacation, I’ve been granted the task of talking about what just happened in Cincinnati. With that in mind, I’m glad you’re here. We’ll get through this together.

Let’s exercise a little conflict avoidance by starting with Tim Lincecum. Through the first two go-arounds against the Reds lineup it was vintage 2008 Timmy. Sure, the start was a little shaky. He allowed a home run-overturned-into-a-double to Shin-Soo Choo before airmailing a throw to first on a Zack Cozart sacrifice bunt. Then, he let Choo score on a Joey Votto sacrifice fly.

But after that, he settled in, striking out eight over the next 4.2 innings and looking masterful in the process. All things considered, he spared the team any damage beyond his first inning hiccups and kept them in contention.

Whether they actually deserved it was another story.

As has become a trend for Lincecum, everything collapsed in the sixth. Brandon Phillips followed up Votto’s single with a two-run homer, and a Todd Frazier single spelled an end to Lincecum’s night. Lincecum has allowed a total of five runs in the first five innings of each of his last four starts. He’s followed those up with eight runs in the sixth. It isn’t out of bounds at this point to wonder whether leaving Lincecum in for a third look at the opposing team’s batting order is a good idea.

On to the hitters…

Vintage 2008 Timmy brought vintage 2008 Giants offense with him. Actually, no, I take it back. It’s insulting to the 2008 Giants.

The last time the Giants got no-hit was in 2003 by Phillies’ righty Kevin Millwood. This time it was Bailey, who earned his second career no-no. He was actually the last Major League pitcher to throw a no-hitter — one against the Pirates on September 29th of last year.

Bailey was carrying a perfect game into the seventh before Gregor Blanco drew a lead-off walk. It was baby steps, but after reaching second on a Marco Scutaro ground out, Blanco blew an opportunity to end the no-hit bid. Votto’s look to the basepaths between second and third on a Buster Posey ground out gave the catcher a chance to reach first, but instead of heading back to second, Blanco got picked off.

It was the weird play you look for — the one that almost always sets an occasion like this in stone.

The seventh turned out to be the Giants best opportunity to get to Bailey, with impressive plate appearances from both Blanco and Pablo Sandoval. The latter’s at bat ended in the kind of disappointment Giants fans have become accustomed to seeing from Sandoval since his return from the DL. After taking two borderline pitches to get the count to 3-2 he swung and missed on a pitch at eye-level to end the inning.

To be fair, Bailey was brilliant. He struck out nine batters over 109 pitches, 74 of which were strikes. He took advantage of a Giants lineup way too eager to swing the bat, pitching aggressively and pounding the strike zone with his fastball all the way. His velocity picked up as the game wore on, reaching 97 on the gun by the ninth inning.

Silver linings

– Thanks to a Dodgers’ win over the Rockies, the Giants are now officially the bottom-dwellers of the NL West. OH, sorry … this was supposed to be “silver linings.” Well, the Diamondbacks also lost, so the Giants are only three games out of first place.

– It seems so insignificant to post this, but I absolutely hounded Carmen to make a .gif of it. Here’s Buster Posey’s turkey tap double play:

– Some creepy guy made a portrait of Posey out of Legos. I can only imagine how uncomfortable this must have been:

– The Giants got 2.2 scoreless innings from Jose Mijares, Jeremy Affeldt and Sandy Rosario. This is good news for a bullpen that’s been struggling mightily as of late.

– There’s really no where to go but up now … right?