Giants proud to have front-row seat to no-no
Sanchez's historical feat a wonder to behold for his teammates
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants players and coaches hadn't seen this side of Jonathan Sanchez in a good while. On Friday at AT&T Park, they watched as he retired the first 22 batters that San Diego sent his way. By the seventh inning, with Sanchez's perfect game intact, they were on the top step of the dugout. By the eighth, they were anticipating each pitch, then clamoring after each strikeout, flyout and broken-bat groundout.
"Nothing changes. Guys are doing the same thing ... sitting in the same place. They're all superstitious," manager Bruce Bochy said after Sanchez's no-hitter and the Giants' 8-0 win over the Padres. "Everybody was pulling for him."
Sanchez became the fourth Giants pitcher this season to take a no-hitter into the seventh inning -- ace Tim Lincecum did it on Thursday -- but he was the first to leave the frame unscathed. Only marred by a Juan Uribe eighth-inning fielding error, he completed his no-hitter.
Lincecum said it's standard for teammates in the dugout to leave a starting pitcher alone during a game, no-hitter or not. But that's not to say Lincecum and Co. didn't keep some extra space between them and the history maker.
"He just made a Major League team look silly," Lincecum said. "It's hard enough to complete a game, nonethlesss, [throw] a no-hitter. He showed us what he's got.
"To be a part of it is cool."
After a path was cleared to the clubhouse, Sanchez found his teammates.
"Everybody was waiting inside for me, to pour beer on me," Sanchez said.
Amid the celebration, the 26-year-old pitcher certainly toasted Pablo Sandoval, whose fifth-inning three-run home run gave Sanchez a 7-0 lead with which to work.
"I feel excited for him," Sandoval said. "I'm happy I did something for him in his start."
Sanchez also had his outfielders to thank -- a group that collected 11 flyouts.
Starting left fielder John Bowker, who was roommates with Sanchez in his first year of professional baseball at Class A Salem-Keizer in 2004, played eight innings before giving way to defensive specialist Andres Torres. He had no qualms about not being on the field for the last out.
"Just to be a part of the game is cool," Bowker said. "It's hard to explain; it's an unbelievable feeling."
Aside from recording a three-hit, three-RBI game, Aaron Rowand contributed a highlight-reel grab for the 26th out, though Rowand wanted to discuss Sanchez, deflecting attention from his defensive gem at every opportunity.
"Nobody's surprised that he threw a no-hitter, because he's had the stuff all along," Rowand said. "This is a moment I'll remember for the rest of my life."
Just like catcher Eli Whiteside, who got the start because Bengie Molina left the team to be at his wife's side during the birth of the couple's child, Nate Schierholtz wasn't even supposed to play in Friday's game -- scheduled to take the night off to clear a lineup spot for Bowker. But Randy Winn fouled a ball off his foot in his first-inning at-bat (suffering a contusion, he's considered day-to-day), and Bochy called on Schierholtz.
The right fielder, who played Minor League ball with Sanchez at Double-A Connecticut and Triple-A Fresno, said he realized what was at stake in the fifth.
"It was just an amazing game to be a part of," Schierholtz said. "I wasn't supposed to play tonight, but Randy went down, and I got to be in there for eight innings.
"[Sanchez] was lights-out. He dominated and just located everything. I'm just happy for John. To see a teammate do something like that, it's just so special."
Pitching coach Dave Righetti, who as a Yankee in 1983 tossed his own no-hit gem, declined to be interviewed following the game, but he was certainly a part of the throng that engulfed Sanchez as he walked off the mound.
Andrew Pentis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.