Homer Bailey throws first no-hitter of 2013; had last one of 2012

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This one was as easy as could be. The defending World Series champions are in a deep hitting funk — two runs or less in nine of their last 12 games. They only came close to a hit one time.

Bailey (5-6) 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 Joey 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.

“Joey had a great heads-up play. I was almost a little late getting to the bag,” Bailey said.

Two innings later, Bailey finished it off so smoothly. He jumped to glove Brandon Crawford’s high comebacker, struck out Tony Abreu and retired Blanco on a grounder to third baseman Todd Frazier.

Then, he raised his arms in celebration, just as he did in Pittsburgh only 10 months earlier.

Been there, done that.

“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.

Votto had a sacrifice fly, and Brandon Phillips hit a two-run homer off Tim Lincecum (4-9), who has lost his last six road decisions. That was all the help that Bailey needed on this night — one walk, nine strikeouts, no hits in a tidy 102 pitches.

“He had his inner Batman out today,” Phillips said.

Bailey got his nickname because teammates think he resembles actor Christian Bale, who played Batman on the big screen. The Giants didn’t put up much of a fight as they fell a season-low five games under .500.

“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.”

It wasn’t that way earlier in his career. The prep star was a first-round pick — seventh overall — in June 2004. He dominated in the minors with his 97 mph fastball. When he was called up for the first time in 2007, he drove past a billboard on the interstate outside of Cincinnati featuring a picture of him holding a flaming baseball.

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