1. The Drought is Over: Believe it or not, you just waited through baseball’s longest no-hitter drought of all time. Believe it or not, it was an unknown rookie on baseball’s most overachieving squad that captured the no-no. Anibal Sanchez threw the Marlins’ fourth no-no in team history, the first since 2001 by a rookie. He was the first to do so since Randy Johnson in May 2004, an 841-day span. Sanchez did it against the Diamondbacks, as the Marlins won 2-0. Here’s his line: 9 innings, no hits, no runs, four walks, and six strikeouts. Sanchez also allowed a baserunner to reach via error, and he needed a few defensive gems to accomplish the no-hitter. Perhaps the biggest one of those came in the 7th innings with two outs, when shortstop Hanley Ramirez fielded a tough grounder to his left, spun, and threw a bullet to first for a close out. The stadium in Miami was one of the least likely atmospheres to witness a historic feat, considering the paid attendance was only 12,000 and about half that actually were in the stands at any given point. On the year, the 22-year-old Sanchez is 7-2 with a 2.89 ERA. Since the start of August, he is 3-1 with seven straight quality starts. Sanchez, a native Venezuelan, is one of many rookies on the Marlins roster and wasn’t even among their numerous candidates for Rookie of the Year before yesterday. Well, he is now.
2. The Deadly Duo: Chicago couldn’t afford a sweep at the hands of the Red Sox. They needed to at least stay close to the Twins. And they did just that with an 8-1 victory yesterday. Their best two offensive players, Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye, came up big in the win. Dye hit his 40th homer of the year, a two-run shot. Thome went 4-4 with his 39th shot of the year. The duo, which has been pacing the White Sox’s dynamic offense all year, struck again against Boston. Pitching-wise, Jose Contreras broke out of a month-long slump in which he had gone 0-3. He finally won his 12th game of the season with an 8 inning, nine strikeout performance. The White Sox took advantage of a Twins loss to move to just .5 games back of them for the Wild Card. Each team is closing in on the slumping Tigers.
3. Daily Double: The New York Mets played a home doubleheader against the Braves yesterday, and they sure took advantage of it. The Mets won the first game 4-1, behind a recent call-up’s starting pitching. Dave Williams, who has been back and forth to and from Norfolk all season, pitched a gem to move the Mets on in game 1. In game 2, the Mets won by a more convincing margin. Despite resting David Wright and Carlos Delgado, New York moved on behind Jose Reyes and Shawn Green homeruns. At 86-52, they have the best record in the majors.
4. Watch out!: Don’t look now Oakland Athletics, but the LA Angels are coming for you. The team has won five games in a row, gaining 3 games on the A’s in the process. The Angels easily beat the Orioles last night by a margin of 8-4. Vlad Guerrero hit two RBIs to bring his season total to 109–best in the division. Rookie prodigy Howie Kendrick hit his 3rd homerun and 23rd RBI of the year. And young starter Ervin Santana won his 14th game of the year, though he allowed 4 runs in 7 innings. The Angels are still 5.5 back of the A’s, but with the way they are playing that gap could be diminished very soon.
5. Gaining firepower: The major’s best offense is about to get even better. The Yankees, who won 8-3 last night behind two homers and six RBIs from Jorge Posada, lead the MLB in runs scored and OPS. Now they will return Hideki Matsui, who put up 100 or more RBIs from 2003-05. Matsui had his first rehab start yesterday for the AA Trenton Thunder. He went 1-3 with an RBI. Though no specific return date is listed for Matsui, when he does come back it will likely be at the designated hitter spot. That could provide a huge boost for the Yanks as they make their run at their first World Series title since 2000.