July 11, 2009

MLB: San Francisco 8, San Diego 0

Jonathan Sanchez, pitching only because Randy Johnson could not, threw the first no-hitter of 2009 Friday in the San Francisco Giants' 8-0 win over San Diego.

Sanchez (3-8) spent the first three months of the season in the San Francisco rotation but was banished to the bullpen after losing four consecutive starts.

When Johnson went on the disabled list with shoulder problems this week, Sanchez got another chance at the starting role and took advantage of it in unexpected fashion.

He retired the Padres in order in each of the first seven innings, and then saw his hopes for a perfect game disappear when third baseman Juan Uribe booted a ground ball off the bat of Chase Headley with one out in the eighth. That was the only base runner Sanchez allowed.

He struck out 11 and went the distance for the first time in his four-year career. The no-hitter came in his 51st start in the majors.

Two pitchers threw no-hitters in the 2008 season -- Carlos Zambrano of the Chicago Cubs and Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox. Zambrano turned in the most recent no-hitter, throwing one in a 5-0 victory over Houston Sept. 14, 2008.

Uribe singled in San Francisco's first run during a four-run second and Pablo Sandoval hit a three-run homer in the fifth.

Sanchez was an unlikely candidate to record one of baseball's highlight achievements. He had a 5.62 ERA over his 13 previous starts this year and had walked 46 batters over 65 2/3 innings.

His victory Friday gave him a career record of 16-26. The loss was the sixth in a row for the Padres.