Jonathan Sanchez Goes from Zero to Hero in Nine Hitless Innings

Raymond MullanCorrespondent IJuly 11, 2009

PHOENIX - JUNE 11:  Starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez #57 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the major league baseball game at Chase Field on June 11, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Less than three weeks ago Jonathan Sanchez lost his starting job as the fifth man in the San Francisco Giants rotation to minor league call-up Ryan Sadowski. This due to the fact he had been performing terribly. In the month of June the Puerto Rican went 0-4 with a 7.08 ERA.

As a reliever, the lefty's only appearances were in the junk time of blow out wins and in every conversation amongst Giants' faithfuls the name Sanchez came up as an expendable piece who would hopefully be a part of a package deal that would bring in the big time bat the Giants have been so badly in need of.

All of that changed on July 10,2009.

Randy Johnson, the Giants No. 2 pitcher was unable to take the mound due to a shoulder injury. In his place Jonathan Sanchez started. The general feeling was, against the lowly San Diego Padres maybe Sanchez could do just enough to keep the Giants in the game.

The offense did their part, highlighted by a three run blast to right field in the home half of the fifth by Pablo Sandoval.

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Amazingly, heading into the seventh inning not only were the Giants still in the game, they were leading 7-0 and Sanchez had pitched six perfect innings. Not only was he throwing the fast ball everyone knows he possesses, all night long but he had a very effective curve, often sneaking it across for called first strikes. 

As any baseball fan knows, the seventh inning is when the whispers of a no-hitter begin. One place those whispers were not heard was from the voices of Kruk and Kuip (as the Giants announcers are affectionately known). Not once before the end of the game did they utter the words "Sanchez no-hitter."

In the eighth inning a perfect game was broken up when Chase Headley reached first on a Juan Uribe error. He would be the only base runner for the Padres on the night.

With one out in the ninth this did not seem to be the case as Edgar Gonzalez launched one to deep center field. Aaron Rowand retreated and made another one of his spectacular grabs, a moment before crashing into the wall.

The last batter Sanchez would face on this historical night was Everth Cabrera. Appropriately the game ended with him not even getting the bat off his shoulder as strike three passed him by.

In the first game Sigfredo Sanchez had seen his son start, as a major leaguer the younger Sanchez had thrown a no-hitter.

Jonathan Sanchez is the first in the major leagues to throw a no-hitter this season and the first Giant to throw one since John Montefusco did it in 1976 against the Atlanta Braves.