By Craig Filazzola, WSOE Sports Director
Of all the major league pitchers to throw this season’s first no-hitter, Jonathan Sanchez is one of the last flamethrowers people would have thought to achieve this feat. Last night he was lights out in the Giants 8-0 victory over the San Diego Padres, but the story gets better.
Sanchez wasn’t even supposed to be pitch for the home team. Randy Johnson was scheduled to start, but he transferred to the disabled list due to a shoulder injury. San Francisco didn’t have many options on short notice and decided to start Sanchez, who had spent the last three weeks in the bullpen because of his ineffectiveness as a starter.
Seven innings went by, and the southpaw was perfect. With one out in the eighth, a routine groundball ate up third baseman Juan Uribe. Uribe was charged with an error, taking away the perfect game and leaving a potential no-hit bid.
The no-hitter was in jeopardy in the ninth. A fly ball went to deep centerfield, and Aaron Rowand leaped at the wall to haul it in for the second out. It was a catch you would expect Rowand to make, but some centerfielders may not have made it. Sanchez struck out the next batter looking on a sweeping curveball for the final out of the game.
Sirgfredo Sanchez, Jonathan’s dad, was in attendance to see it all. He was nervous when watching from the stands but then overwhelmed with joy after the game.
This was AT&T Park’s first no-hitter in its 10-year history. No it wasn’t by Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Randy Johnson, or even Barry Zito. It was by Jonathan Sanchez.
The 27th round draft pick in 2004 improved to a 3-8 record with a 4.69 ERA. An improbable no-hitter? You bet.
He threw his first career complete game and struck out a career-high 11 batters without allowing a walk. A great accomplishment for the 26-year-old but it wasn’t a perfect one. If Uribe would have made that play in the eighth, Sanchez throws a perfect game. Though the error will be forgotten by most and Sanchez may not keep his spot in the rotation for long, last night will always be special for him.
WSOE Sports Director