It’s been said that we’re in the era of the pitcher and so far that’s held true. Another pitcher has etched his name into baseball history as Detroit Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez nearly no-hit the Minnesota Twins, as he took the Twins deep into the ninth inning without surrendering a hit before allowing a single to Joe Mauer.
Sanchez had been brilliant all game long and even struck Joe Mauer out earlier in the game on a high curveball but he left one out front in the ninth and Mauer drilled it to centerfield, right over the head of Sanchez. This wouldn’t have been Sanchez’s first no-hitter as he tossed one back in 2006 while still a member of the Florida Marlins.
When it comes to ace pitching, Justin Verlander is the name commonly mentioned but the night belonged to Sanchez. Not even the hot bat of Miguel Cabrera could overpower the dominance of the Tigers pitcher on Friday night as the near no-hitter goes down as one of the numerous highlights to have already graced Detroit’s season thus far.
Sanchez barely missed the second no-hitter of his career but the games still goes down as his third one-hitter of his career, which is nearly as impressive as the no-hitter he almost threw. He tossed a career high 129 pitches and he crowd never acted as though the hit by Mauer occurred. Even after the single was drilled to center field, the Tiger faithful rose to their feet and treated Sanchez to a very deserving standing ovation.
After allowing the hit to Mauer, Sanchez blew past the final two batter of the inning and is left with the bittersweet taste of losing a no-hitter in the ninth inning. The curveball to the the Twins catcher was the only bad pitch Sanchez threw on the night, but after the dominating performance he turned in, it’s hard to count against more of that brilliance showing up as the season barrels into the summer and towards an inevitable pennant race involving the Tigers, their big bats and shutdown pitching.