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Thursday, September 07, 2006

No-Hitter has a better story

--posted by Tony Garcia on 9/07/2006

The last no-hitter was Arizona's Randy Johnson's perfect game against Atlanta 2-0 May 18, 2004. This is the longest Major League Baseball has gone without a no-hitter, 2+ years. And on this night Randy Johnson, who is having one of his career's worst seasons, was staring into bookending that dry spell.

Bottom of the 7th...to this point Johnson faced 18 batters. This is the minimum number of batters possible. There was a walk in the 2nd inning to RF Emil Brown but 1B Ryan Shealy grounded into a double play. To this point, entering the 7th, Johnson had a no-no going. That was shattered with a lead-off triple.

The no-hit drought continues...

Maybe what happened was more fitting for the 2006 season. Incredible rookies flood the ranks of the majors this year. Liriano, Ethier...so many. And last night another stepped up.

Anibal Sanchez made his 13th career start and his 14th appearance. And what a start it finished as.
Anibal Sanchez was standing behind the mound when the scoreboard caught his eye, confirming what he already knew: He was one out from a no-hitter.

He froze. For a couple of seconds, the Florida Marlins' rookie didn't move.

"I said, `Wow. This hitter is the last one,"' Sanchez said.
That quote, to me is incredible. No matter what happened that hitter was last. An out or a hit...well, a couple of other outcomes that would send another hitter up in a no-hitter, but c'mon, the insightfulness is still there.

A no-hitter. 4 walks and 1 error. A no-hitter in only 103 pitches (though we tend to pay too much attention to pitch counts). 67-36 strike-ball ratio...fantastic.

A no-hitter to end the drought since the last no-hitter...which was Arizona vs Atlanta by Randy Johnson. Somehow it is fitting that the record span is ended with a complete reversal. Johnson's no-hitter was 40 years old, an 18-year veteran and the Diamondbacks won. Last night Johnson comes close but cannot complete the task. Last night the streak was ended by a 22-year old rookie to beat the Diamondbacks.

Congratulations to Anibal Sanchez.

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