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Anibal Sanchez flirted with a no-hitter in NLCS Game 1



ST. LOUIS – As he headed toward the dugout, Anibal Sanchez headed to first base and saluted José Martínez, a sign of respect for the Cardinal lone who would collect a hit against him all night. He just polished the best postseason performance of his 14-year career,

ST. LOUIS – As he headed toward the dugout, Anibal Sanchez headed to first base and saluted José Martínez, a sign of respect for the Cardinal lone who would collect a hit against him all night. He just polished off the best postseason performance of his 14-year career, an unlikely hit that led to his eighth appearance at Busch Stadium on Friday night, but he wants to give a nod to the fellow Venezuelan who has been retained he from completion. this. in Game 1

of the National League Championship Series. He was sidelined and the Cardinals failed until a two-out single at the center in Martínez ended the night. On a night when the Nationals' limited bullpen was nowhere near Daniel Hudson away from the team on paternity leave, it was exactly what Washington needed to take the 1-0 lead in the NLCS.

• The NLCS presented by GEICO, Game 2: Today, 4 pm ET on TBS

Games Date Time matchup /
Results
TV /
] Highlights
Gm 1 October. 11 WSH 2, STL 0 Watch
Gm 2 October. 12 4 p.m. WSH vs. STL TBS
Gm 3 October. 14 7:30 p.m. STL vs. WSH TBS
Gm 4 October. 15 8 p.m. STL vs. WSH TBS
* Gm 5 October. 16 4 p.m. STL vs. WSH TBS
* Gm 6 October. 18 8 p.m. WSH vs. STL TBS
* Gm 7 October. 19 8 p.m. WSH vs. STL TBS

"What he did tonight was really special," second baseman Howie Kendrick said. "I hope we get a no-hitter tonight, but you can't discount the fact he did tonight. It's special."

• Hudson away? Sánchez, Doo keeps Card at bay [19659003] Sánchez finished the night with 7 2/3 shutout innings of a hit ball with five strikeouts, a walk and the deepest unsuccessful individual that has not been hit in a postseason game since October 5, In 1967, when Jim Lonborg of Boston allowed a hit with two outs in the eighth, also against St. Louis, in Game 2 of the World Series, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

For most at night, Sánchez kept to himself, staying out of the dugout and keeping warm in the batting cage between the spins. He allowed himself to believe only a few batters before the soliloquy. Martinez, when Ryan Zimme rman went all over the base to steal a hit from Tommy Edman and record the first in the eighth. He believes even after he retires next batter, Paul DeJong, on a pitch.

"And I said, 'OK, always behind a no hitter, a good play should happen, & # 39; said Sanchez. "I said, OK, I [have]."

Sánchez has played deep games in the postseason before. As a member of the Tigers, he threw six no-hit innings against the Red Sox in Game 1 of the 2013 American League Championship Series. He was not very good that night, with 12 strikeouts and six walks, running his pitch to 116 before being eliminated.

"Whenever I can do that, of course I feel good," he said. "I just try to make every pitch I throw right now. I don't want to overthink or even think of anything. It's fine if I have that kind of command, because it's easier for the catcher to call the game."

His release on Friday night, Sánchez became the first pitcher in postseason history with multiple outings of at least six contests with one or fewer hits allowed. And yet, when measuring round, he's not the first bet to throw a playoff no-hitter. Or the second. Or the third.

"I probably would have bet, if I had four options," general manager Mike Rizzo said with a laugh. "But he was horrible all the time."

And he delivered the way he has always been, by developing soft contact and utilizing his entire arsenal of NL starting pitchers, no pitcher has ever produced a lower hard-hit rate than Sánchez. The Cardinals suffered first hand Friday night.They had only one hard ball, (an exit velocity above 95 mph, according to Statcast) and that was a flyout on the track warning from Marcell Ozun on second inning.

Sánchez lived in the corners and made it impossible to predict what was to come. He threw for 103 pitches and mixed in four almost evenly: 29 four-seam fastballs, 24 splitters, 19 cutters and 20 sinkers, as measured by Statcast. Throw in four curveballs and seven changes, a pitch at 66.1 mph – the slow-moving Sanchez called the butterfly, or "la mariposa" – another at 92.7 mph and almost everything in between.

"Shortstop Trea Turner said." He had, like, eight pitches. I didn't know what to look for, what to do. Do you look soft, you look hard? I've had very little success with him, so I'm glad he's here now. Most of all, he watches it. It's just in, out, up, down, five pitches all the time. He's cute, like four different changes, it never ends, and it's not as funny on the face when he gets it as he did tonight. "

Manager Dave Martinez often issued a reminder, a repeat of his almost ad nauseam, that even though most people believe the Nationals have a" big three "in their round, in fact they have a "big four," with Sánchez. On Friday night it was Sánchez who made the reminder.

Jamal Collier has been covering the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier .


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