Baseball

Sanchez’s no-hitter ‘awesome’

Jonathan Sanchez pretty much pulled an all-nighter. A subdued and pleasant one to say the least.

Sanchez and his father, Sigfredo, were up until the wee hours watching highlights and reflecting on the San Francisco left-hander’s improbable no-hitter.

“I went to bed, like, at 4 in the morning,” Sanchez said with a smile Saturday. “I got a lot of calls, a lot of messages, text messages. They’re still going on.”

Through the frustrations of his struggles and a demotion to the bullpen, Sanchez remained steadfast he could be an effective major league pitcher.

His standard phrase: “I just want to pitch.” He never wavered, never complained.

The quiet left-hander showed everybody when he no-hit the San Diego Padres, the first no-no for the Giants in nearly 33 years.

What made it even more special for Sanchez was that his dad had flown in from Puerto Rico to watch his son start. What a night he chose.

Sanchez was nearly perfect. Third baseman Juan Uribe booted Chase Headley’s grounder with one out in the eighth inning for San Diego’s lone baserunner.

“I told him, ‘I want to make a play,’ ” Uribe said Saturday of his conversations with Sanchez. “He’s happy. It’s a new day. I can change. I’m going to make the play today.”

A day later, Sanchez showed up sporting a mohawk-like hairstyle – he promised to do it if he pitched his first career complete game – and still basking in his milestone achievement.

It wasn’t until the final batter – Everth Cabrera – stepped in that Sanchez really allowed himself to think about what was suddenly right within his grasp. Cabrera watched a called third strike sail past, a curveball. He briefly argued as the celebration began. That was Sanchez’s career-best 11th strikeout.

“When the inning started, I said, ‘Just keep making your pitches,’ ” he recalled. “I saw the crowd up and said, ‘Now I’ve got to get this. I can have it.’ ”

It was the Giants’ 13th no-hitter and first since John Montefusco did it on Sept. 29, 1976, at Atlanta. Their last one in San Francisco came when Ed Halicki no-hit the New York Mets in the second game of a doubleheader on Aug. 24, 1975.

“It’s awesome. I can’t believe I just threw a no-hitter out there,” said the 26-year-old Sanchez (3-8, 4.69 ERA). “I’ve been struggling the whole year. I just worked on my stuff and it was right tonight. Hopefully next start it will get better.”

He almost lost his no-hit bid in the ninth, but Gold Glove center fielder Aaron Rowand saved it with a leaping grab at the center-field fence to rob pinch-hitter Edgar Gonzalez for the second out.

“That was awesome to be part of. It was truly amazing,” Rowand said Saturday. “I feel very lucky to have been part of it. Those kind of things don’t come around very often. To be on the field and contribute was amazing. It’s a night I’ll never forget, having a front-row seat and seeing what he was doing.

“It was all him, a one-man show.”

Short hops

Left-handed reliever Alan Embree had surgery Saturday in Denver to repair a broken right leg, and the Colorado Rockies recalled right-handed reliever Matt Belisle from Triple-A Colorado Springs to fill Embree’s roster spot. Embree, out of Vancouver’s Prairie High School, was injured Friday night when he was struck by a line drive off the bat of the Atlanta Braves’ Martin Pardo in the seventh inning of the Rockies’ 4-1 loss. He was put on the 15-day disabled list. … Cincinnati Reds right fielder Jay Bruce was forced to leave the game against the New York Mets after breaking his right wrist while trying to make a sliding catch in the first inning. He’ll fly back to Cincinnati today to be examined. … Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton likely will have to skip the All-Star Game Tuesday because of an ailing big toe on his right foot. He’ll be seen by a doctor in Milwaukee, where L.A. is playing the Brewers. … The Braves sent undefeated rookie Tommy Hanson (4-0, 2.85 ERA) to Class A Myrtle Beach and called up right-hander Luis Valdez from Triple-A Gwinnett to add depth to their bullpen.

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