It takes the rarest of circumstances for a perfect game to occur. Friday night in San Francisco had all the makings. The intriguing subplot involving Jonathan Sanchez’ future, the tender moments provided by his father and brother being in attendance – reportedly the first time his father has seen him pitch in the majors –, and the worst offense in the National League. Everything was brewed and marinated just right, or so it seemed.
Sanchez started the evening with a groundout and a pair of strikeouts. In the second he secured three fly outs. After getting some run support in the bottom of the second, Sanchez kept on rolling, retiring 6-9 and 1-3 in the next two innings and setting up a big match-up with Adrian Gonzalez to start the fifth. It’s hard to say whether anyone was really excited about the potential of a perfect game at this point, but anytime you have to face off with Gonzalez, it’s a big deal. Sanchez struck Gonzalez out swinging on four pitches and then K’d Chase Headley for good measure.
In the sixth and seventh innings, Sanchez would strike out five of the six batters he faced, with the only ball in play coming courtesy of Luis Rodriguez. The final out of the seventh would be Kevin Kouzmanoff, which again set up Gonzalez to open the next inning. Realistically, Gonzalez is the only obstacle between Sanchez and immortality. Gonzalez flies out to the track, and there you have it. At this point, someone – likely upon emptying their beverage container – has realized Sanchez’s line is starting to look historic.
Chase Headley comes up, hits a hopper to third and…oh heavens, Juan Uribe butchers it. Even with the perfect game over, Sanchez retires Craig Stansberry, Eliezer Alfonzo, Luis Rodriguez, Edgar Gonzalez, and Evereth Cabrera in order. Sure, it’s not a perfect game, but you have to feel good for Sanchez tossing a no hitter. Even after the game, Sanchez’s ERA sits a half run higher than his FIP. The guy definitely could use some good luck, and he got some on this night.
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