White Sox’s Buehrle throws perfect game

With a ton of help from centerfielder Dewayne Wise, White Sox’s starter Mark Buehrle threw a perfect game Thursday against the Rays. He already had a no-hitter on his resume and the perfect game came after throwing 116 pitches and striking out six.

Wise (who was a defensive replacement that inning…nice work, Ozzie Guillen) made the play of the year in the ninth inning, racing back on a Gabe Kapler shot to left-center that looked like it was going to be a home run. Wise leaped up against the wall, robbed Kapler of the dinger and then hung onto the ball (while falling to the ground) barehanded after it popped out of his glove. If you haven’t seen this play yet, do yourself a favor and turn on ESPN News and check it out, because that catch is going to be talked about all season.

It’s amazing how much Buehrle’s perfect game parallels Giants’ starter Jonathan Sanchez’s no-hitter from a couple weeks ago. Sanchez had a no-hitter going into the ninth (he missed the perfect game after Juan Uribe booted a grounder at third) and after retiring the first batter in the inning, allowed a near-home run that centerfielder Aaron Rowand had to snag while crashing into the wall a la Wise.

Another similarity from the two outings is that catcher Eli Whiteside had never caught Sanchez before his no-hitter. Ironically, Ramon Castro had not caught Buhrle this season before his perfect game. One more: both guys did it in their home parks. Pretty cool.

What a phenomenal accomplishment from one of the more steady starters of his time. Jayson Stark of ESPN said it best (and I’m paraphrasing here): ‘Buehrle is what pitching is all about. He mixes his pitches so well and he doesn’t try and strike guys out – he pitches to contact.’

Well said. I’ll add that this guy doesn’t throw 95 mph (he doesn’t even throw 90 mph on most occasions), but he just knows how to pitch. He works the count, he works at a fast tempo and he’s incredibly smart. He’s been solid his entire career and young pitchers could certainly learn from this guy.

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Giants can’t be quick to trade Jonathan Sanchez now

If you were to have gotten Giants general manager Brian Sabean all liquored up in a private setting (I know you’re probably weirded out by the start of this sentence, but stay with me here) and asked him which players he wouldn’t mind giving up in a trade to acquire a bat, he almost certainly would have uttered this name: Jonathan Sanchez.

Hell, there’s a great chance he would have uttered that name first. But that was before Sanchez’s no-hitter against the Padres on Friday night, when he struck out 11 batters and was a Juan Uribe-error away from throwing a perfect game.

The Giants had been waiting for that kind of performance all season out of Sanchez. Granted, they weren’t expecting that good of a performance, but they did have high expectations for him coming into the 2009 season.

He did show flashes of brilliance earlier this season, most notably in a two-hit, 2-0 win over the Diamondbacks on April 17. But ’09 has mostly been a season of massive frustration for not only Sanchez, but also a Giants organization that had hoped the 26-year-old lefty would be the third leg of a tripod that also featured pitching sensations Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain.

Sanchez has always been a strikeout pitcher, but for much of this season he struggled mightily with his control and he seemed to be racking up K’s only because he was wildly effective. And when he would start to struggle during games, he appeared to be a mental midget on the mound and could never recover.

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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?


Matt Cain?


Randy Johnson?!


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.

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