The left-handed pitcher threw his arms in the air and waited for his teammates to mob him. They crowded around; offering hugs and pats on the back, barely giving him room to breathe. Afterward, the lefty was able to leave the stadium with his father and take in the excitement of what he had just accomplished.
The No-hitter: Last weekend, Jonathan Sanchez of the San Francisco Giants pitched the first no-hitter of the pro baseball season. In front of the screaming hometown fans, Sanchez pitched all nine innings of the Giants' 8-0 win over the San Diego Padres without allowing a single hit. Almost as amazing, he didn't walk anybody and struck out 11 batters. Best of all, Sanchez' father was in the crowd, rooting him on like every other fan. It was the first time his dad had ever watched him pitch in the Majors.
Why it's important: For a big league pitcher, throwing a no-hitter is one of the hardest accomplishments to reach. Only one or two pitchers throw no-hitters every year. Some years, no pitcher is able to do it. No Giants pitcher has thrown a no-hitter since 1976.
Making the most of an opportunity: What makes Sanchez's no-hitter so memorable is that no one expected him to do it. For much of his career, he hasn't even been a starting pitcher. This season, he has split time as a starter and a reliever and only started the game against the Padres because another pitcher was injured. If he did poorly, he might not get another shot as a starting pitcher. However, Sanchez wasn't about to let that happen. At the time he needed it most, he pitched the best game of his life. He showed how important it is to try your hardest whenever you are presented with an opportunity. You never know what might happen!
Teamwork: While Sanchez was the hero of the day, he couldn't have pitched a no-hitter without his teammates. They all played well in the field and didn't allow the Padres to get any hits. One special player was centerfielder Aaron Rowand. In the eighth inning, he made a great catch against the distant outfield wall to keep the no-hitter in tact. His play helped Sanchez accomplish this special feat.
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