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Saturday, April 23, 2011
Sanchez close to second no-no


Not only was 2010 the Year of the No-Hitter (six including the postseason), but it also was the Year of the Near No-Hitter. Five other potential no-nos were broken up in the ninth inning, the highest number since 1990.

On Friday night, Florida Marlins pitcher Anibal Sanchez recorded the first near no-hitter of the 2011 campaign, losing his bid after Colorado Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler led off the ninth inning with a single.

How did Sanchez shut down the Rockies? He was dominant with several pitches.

Sanchez's fastball averaged 92.1 mph, only the eighth time since the 2009 season he averaged 92 or faster in a start. He recorded eight misses on 26 swings on his fastball (30.8 percent), the third-highest miss percentage on his fastball in the past three seasons.

While the heater was superb, Sanchez also used his off-speed pitches to get hitters out, especially with two strikes. Sanchez retired 13 Rockies hitters with off-speed pitches, despite throwing just 17 off-speed pitches with two strikes the entire game. He recorded 12 outs on his slider, including nine with two strikes -- the most in a start since September 2009.

The Marlins have three of the five longest no-hit bids so far this season. Sanchez’s is the longest of the season, and Josh Johnson has taken one into the eighth inning and another into the seventh.

The Marlins are tied with the Red Sox and Yankees for the most no-hitters since 1993 (Marlins’ inaugural season) with four. Al Leiter, Kevin Brown, A.J. Burnett and Sanchez have tossed the Florida no-hitters.

Had Sanchez finished off the no-hitter Friday, the 27-year-old would have become the sixth-youngest pitcher at the time of his second no-hitter (Johnny Vander Meer is the youngest at 23 years, 225 days).