The last time Homer Bailey faced the Giants, he threw the second no-hitter of his career, silencing San Francisco's bats on July 2 of last season. His first no-hitter came just 10 months earlier, and immediately afterward, the right-hander didn't have words to describe the feeling.
"To do it once is extra special. To do it twice -- I don't really have the words for it right now," he said.
Bailey, who has turned in six quality starts in his last eight outings, looks to continue that type of dominance against San Francisco as his Reds open a three-game series with the Giants at Great American Ball Park Tuesday night.
The man who took the loss in Bailey's no-hit performance last season is also the man scheduled to face him Tuesday. Tim Lincecum, who would throw a no-hitter of his own 11 days after Bailey's, threw five no-hit innings against the Cubs last Wednesday, but was removed after having thrown 96 pitches and developing a blister on the middle finger of his throwing hand.
Lincecum said he felt "disappointment in myself because I didn't give myself that leash to go deeper. The blister is something I can't control, but my pitch count is something I can."
The right-hander is 0-3 with an 8.65 ERA in five starts against Cincinnati, the only NL team he hasn't beaten in his career.
Despite his regular season difficulties with the Reds, Lincecum played a key role in stifling them in the 2012 postseason, when he allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings out of the bullpen, and also notched the win in Game 4 of a Division Series the eventual champions would come back to win after trailing two games to none.
Lincecum hopes to keep the Giants -- who own the best record in the Majors at 37-20 and took three of four from the Cardinals in St. Louis over the weekend -- rolling.
Meanwhile, the Reds are looking to continue their recent success against San Francisco, having won six of seven against the Giants last season, and eight of 10 regular season games against them dating back to 2012.
San Francisco has lost 10 of its last 11 regular season games at Great American Ball Park dating back to 2010.
"It's more of an aspect of them having a very good team, not that it's a certain ballpark," said Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, who's scheduled to start Wednesday. "They just match up well with us."
Giants: Blossoming in May
The Giants finished May with a 19-9 mark (.679), the best in the National League. Toronto (21-9, .700) was the only team in the Majors to outdo the Giants. San Francisco still has a chance for a 20-win month, since its suspended May 22 game at Colorado will be counted under May, even though it'll be played in September.
The other indicators of the Giants' top-notch performance kept rising through the month. San Francisco, which owns the Majors' best record, is 18-11 on the road, matching Los Angeles for best in the NL. The Giants also are an NL-best 16-6 in day games.
Reds: Bruce gets a day to rest his knee
Right fielder Jay Bruce, who returned to the Reds lineup on May 23 after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, was given the day off in Cincinnati's series finale against the D-Backs in Arizona on Sunday.
Bruce is 4-for-30 without a home run since coming off the disabled list.
• The Giants are 28-5 this season when scoring first, and 9-15 when an opponent scores first.
• Giants center fielder Angel Pagan is 3-for-9 (.333) in his career against Bailey. Right fielder Hunter Pence, however, has struggled against the right-hander, going 2-for-17 (.118) against him. Catcher Buster Posey is still looking for his first hit against Bailey (0-for-11).
• Bruce, Brandon Phillips, Devin Mesoraco and Skip Schumaker have all homered off Lincecum.
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.