Jonathan Sanchez, an unlikely candidate, pitched the majors' first no-hitter this season last night, dominating the San Diego Padres with an array of pitches in the San Francisco Giants' 8-0 victory. The 26-year-old left-hander returned to the rotation after a nearly 3-week demotion to the bullpen—and he only got the call because 303-game winner Randy Johnson went on the disabled list earlier this week with a shoulder injury.
Gold Glove center fielder Aaron Rowand saved the no-hitter with a leaping catch at the center-field fence to rob pinch-hitter Edgar Gonzalez for the second out of the ninth inning. Sanchez nearly tossed a perfect game—the only runner the Padres managed came on an error by third baseman Juan Uribe in the eighth. Sanchez threw the Giants' 13th no-hitter and first since John Montefusco did it on Sept. 29, 1976, at Atlanta. (Read more no-hitter stories.)