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Anibal Sanchez falls short in bid for unique second no-hitter

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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Sanchez

With one no-hitter already under his belt back in 2006, Florida Marlins starter Anibal Sanchez nearly repeated the historic feat in a brilliant performance against the Colorado Rockies Friday night.

But what would have made this no-hitter unique from his first, and unique from so many others in the past?

Had Sanchez been able to finish the job, it would have been the 270th no-hitter of all time, but only the 25th where the team no-hit has scored a run. The last time that happened was back on Sept. 8, 1993 when Houston's Darryl Kile no-hit the New York Mets.

That scenario arose due to the inauspicious manner in which Sanchez and his Marlins teammates would begin the game. Sanchez walked Colorado's lead-off hitter Dexter Fowler on six pitches. Fowler would eventually come around to score the Rockies lone run after a passed ball, a ground out and an error by first baseman Gaby Sanchez.

But the impressive thing about Sanchez's outing, rather than unraveling after the awkward beginning is that he began dominating, retiring 22 of the next 24 (two walks). It wasn't until that man again, Dexter Fowler, led-off the ninth with a broken bat single, just out of the reach of second baseman Omar Infante, that Colorado broke into the hit column.

"To see it go on a broken bat is kind of disheartening," Marlins catcher John Buck said, "but it shows how hard it is to do. It's just the way it rolls."

Added Fowler: "That was my best swing of the night, but he blew my bat up."

Sanchez finished with nine strikeouts. Otherwise I'm sure he would have blown up a few more.

Despite falling short on joining exclusive company with multiple no-nos, Sanchez was more than happy to settle for the second one-hitter of his career.

From MLB.com: {YSP:MORE}

"Every situation is different," said the Venezuelan native, who had his family at the game. "Today is a different day. I wasn't thinking too much about it [the no-hitter]. Early in the season, I'm happy to throw my first complete game. I want to throw a lot of innings this year, and make sure that everything is fine with my body."

Everything seemed to be in tip-top shape on Friday.

Also worth noting:

• The Marlins have thrown four no-hitters in their existence. The first of which came on May 11, 1996, when Al Leiter no-hit the Dante Bichette led Rockies.

• Ironically, Bichette, now a Florida resident, threw a couple rounds of batting practice to the Rockies prior to Friday's game. Chances are good he won't be asked to do so again on Saturday.

• Marlins starter Josh Johnson has flirted with no-hitters in each of his last two starts. This is also the second time this week Colorado went hitless into the late innings. Tim Lincecum threw six hitless innings on Monday before Carlos Gonzalez broke it up with a clean single.

• Josh Johnson will face the Rockies on Sunday afternoon at Sun Life Stadium. Make your plans accordingly.

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