Aaron Rowand

No-hitter for Jonathan Sanchez? All bets are off now!

After Tim Lincecum had his no-hitter broken up by Tony Gwynn, Jr. last night, it was sob-city around the Bay Area. Yeah, we’re taking this pitching for granted now, but what about our no-hitter? John Montefusco threw the last Giants no-no back in 1976, would we ever see a Giant toss one again?

Mike Scott…Kevin Brown…No problem no-hitting the Giants. But for some reason, the Giants’ San Francisco World Series curse had somehow spread to no-hitters, too.

Not anymore.

Lincecum knocked on the door, and Jonathan Sanchez ran through it tonight with a sledgehammer and a dirty slider. Sanchez was nearly perfect in both of his relief appearances since being demoted, and he WAS perfect tonight. This wasn’t a perfect game, but take out that bad hop Juan Uribe couldn’t handle, and…OK, that’s not fair. Nobody reading this could have fielded that grounder from Chase Headley either, so no what-if’s allowed.

Sanchez, who has never shown much in the way of control, consistency or guile on the mound throughout his Major League career, summoned all three tonight. Maybe it was his dad coming to the game for the first time, maybe it was some extra work with Dave Righetti.

Whatever it was, when Uribe took that gounder off his chest, Sanchez didn’t freak out as per usual — he pointed to Uribe as if Juan had just thrown Sanchez a sweet alley-oop pass on the playground. “Thanks for being out there, man. I know you’ll get me next time.”

Sometimes, karma works in less-than-mysterious ways. The new, forgiving Sanchez soon enjoyed the best catch Aaron Rowand had ever given him. Edgar Renteria played tonight’s game (the last few innings, anyway) as if it were the 1997 World Series. Sanchez is now back in the starting rotation, probably for good. Hell, definitely for good.

Who needs Roy Halladay? Or Dan Uggla? The Giants look like they can shut out the Majors at this point, and who am I to say they can’t?

It’s impossible to believe. A Giant threw a no-hitter, and it was thrown by Jonathan Sanchez! It all completes the circle somehow. If Lincecum gets the first no-no, it’s almost like his birthright. Sanchez throws one, caught by Eli Whiteside of all people, and it shows the strength of this team, a team that makes up for its lack of a true cleanup hitter with a striking lack of weaknesses throughout the rest of the lineup or the pitching staff.

Pablo Sandoval has changed the complexion of this team (which is why he should be an All-Star). His grand slam on Monday, his 3-run home run today, everything he’s done has set to flame the straight jacket that had been wrapped around this offense. Now Sanchez, who last year represented the Giants’ penchant for outings marked with great stuff and horrible control, just popped the Giants’ no-hitter cherry.

Just like I didn’t want to say the words “no” and “hitter” tonight (or allow my girlfriend to say them, either), I’m not going to say what I think a win like this means to the 2009 San Francisco Giants. All I’m going to say is, don’t count anything out anymore. Anything.

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