Aaron Sanchez, in an eventual 2-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards on Tuesday night, kept a no-hitter into the eighth inning, losing it only on a leadoff double from Tim Beckham in the bottom half of the frame.
It would have been electrifying; historical; and, if nothing else, a flawless story of a pitcher who was more than fantastic in his first full major league season, then suffered a fall from grace (and health) in his second. It would have been perfect for the first time since Dave Stieb in 1990, if it had ever been.
Yes, in just two more innings of work, it would have been a hyperbolic feat for a hyperbolic story. But it was more than just something that rose to a climax and quickly sank with a double from Beckham, then single from Anthony Santander, then double from Chance Sisco. Even without a zero in the hits category on the scoreboard, it was still one hell of a start from Sanchez.
He pitched eight innings; he ended up allowing three hits, and one earned run in that eighth inning, and he did walk five. He was far from perfect, but he commanded the game, if not the ball he was throwing, in a way that Blue Jay fans have not seen since the postseason of 2016. If nothing else, the author is being hyperbolic here.
For almost the same amount of time that Sanchez was controlling the game, the Blue Jays’ offense couldn’t do the same.
The game was tied at 0-0 until the top of the eighth, when Toronto first broke ahead. Yangervis Solarte singled home Justin Smoak. After the bottom half of the inning gave the Orioles another chance, Curtis Granderson hit the decisive home run in the top of the ninth to take the game.
Roberto Osuna came on in the bottom of the ninth, securing save number 100 of his career.
And so, with Granderson run and Osuna save, Sanchez took the win instead of a no decision. Albeit a meaningless stat, it put a rightful cap on an electric night that won’t be matched for a long time.
That is, until Sanchez’s next start.