Five years ago today, I attended my first, and so far only, no-hitter. It was Jonathan Sanchez going against the Padres.
Sanchez had shown some promise early in his career, striking out a batter an inning, but struggling with control problems. After going 2-8 to start the 2009 season, he was sent to the bullpen. But after a couple of relief appearances, he was back on the mound for at least one start when future Hall-of-Famer Randy Johnson had to drop out with a shoulder injury.
He struck out 11, did not walk a batter, and only allowed one base-runner due to an error. His father was at the park … he flew in from Puerto Rico, and apparently had never seen his son pitch in a major-league game.
Attendance was just over 30,000 … the Giants weren’t selling out every game by that point. It was the last year I had season tickets, so I was there. It was the first no-hitter by a Giant in more than 30 years.
A look at the Giants starting lineup will take fans back a bit. Aaron Rowand hit leadoff and played CF … his catch in the ninth inning helped save the no-hitter. Randy Winn hit second and played RF … he left in the second inning, I forget why, and Nate Schierholtz took over. Third-baseman Pablo Sandoval hit third, and first-baseman Travis Ishikawa was the clean-up hitter. Then came Edgar Renteria (SS), John Bowker (LF), Juan Uribe (2B), Eli Whiteside (C), and Sanchez. Whiteside was only catching because regular backstop Bengie Molina was with his wife in the maternity ward. It wasn’t a close game … the Giants scored four in the second inning on their way to an 8-0 victory. The suspense was all about the no-hitter.
Sanchez had his best season in 2010, when he helped the Giants to the World Series, picking up the win in the final game of the regular season to put the team into the playoffs. He went downhill rather rapidly after that, but he’ll be remembered by Giants fans for that no-hitter, and for 2010.