Giants’ Sanchez throws a no-hitter against Padres

A San Francisco Giants’ starter has thrown a no-hitter.

It must have been Tim Lincecum right?

Nope.

Matt Cain?

Nope.

Randy Johnson?!

Nope.

It wasn’t Barry Zito was it?

Absolutely not.

One night after Lincecum flirted with a similar feat, 26-year-old Jonathan Sanchez, coming off a recent demotion to the bullpen, threw a no-hitter against the Padres on Friday night as the Giants beat San Diego 8-0 at AT&T Park in San Francisco. It was the first no-hitter of the 2009 Major League season and the first Giants’ no-hitter since John Montefusco threw one in 1976.

In his nine innings of domination, Sanchez struck out 11 batters in obviously his most dominant performance of his career. He did allow a base runner, but it was due to a Juan Uribe fielding error in the eighth inning. Had Uribe not booted the play (he misplayed a bad in-between hop), Sanchez could have had a perfect game.

Speaking of fielding, Sanchez got an amazing gift from centerfielder Aaron Rowand in the ninth as he went back on a ball that was crushed by Edgar Gonzalez, leaped against the wall and made a terrific catch. Shortstop Edgar Renteria also made a fine play in the hole the play earlier.

What’s amazing is that Sanchez wasn’t even supposed to pitch tonight (relatively speaking, that is). He was taken out of the starting rotation at the end of June and replaced by Ryan Sadowski after he started the season 2-8 with a 5.54 ERA. But an injury to Johnson gave Sanchez a start tonight and he obviously took full advantage of it.

This was supposed to be Sanchez’s breakout season, but instead he struggled considerably with his control and would often get flustered after bad innings. His strikeout numbers have been consistently good, but he has been more wildly effective than anything. His name has even come up in numerous trade rumors, although considering Johnson’s injury and the fact that the Giants are in the thick of the NL Wild Card chase, they might hang onto Sanchez for the second half.

No matter what Sanchez’s future holds, this was an amazing accomplishment. The Padres don’t exactly have the most potent offense, but Sanchez isn’t exactly Cy Young either. He was absolutely phenomenal and for a young man who has had so many struggles this season, he deserved this tonight and maybe he’ll use this performance as a stepping-stone to turn things around and have a great career.

On a personal note, I was fortunate enough to watch every pitch of this game and it was absolutely thrilling as a baseball fan. They said on the broadcast that Sanchez’s dad, who had never seen his son pitch in the majors before tonight, flew to San Francisco yesterday to watch the game and was able to celebrate with Jonathan in the dugout afterward. It was a great scene.

Congratulations to Jonathan Sanchez.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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