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Sanchez pitches majors' first no-hitter in two years

Anibal Sanchez restored a forgotten feat to major league baseball: a no-hitter.

The rookie ended the longest period without a no-hitter in major league history, leading the Florida Marlins over the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-0 Wednesday night in just his 13th career start.

``This is the best moment of my life,'' Sanchez said. ``You never think that's going to happen.''

One of four rookies in the Florida rotation, Sanchez (7-2) walked four and pitched around an error. The 22-year-old right-hander from Venezuela struck out six and threw 103 pitches. He benefited from three defensive gems by teammates, including a 4-3-6 double play in the eighth.

``When I sat on the bench in the eighth, I thought, `This is my day,''' Sanchez said.

It was the first no-hitter in the majors since Arizona's Randy Johnson threw a perfect game to beat Atlanta 2-0 on May 18, 2004. Sanchez's performance ended a stretch of 6,364 major league games between no-hitters. The longest gap previously was 4,015 games from Sept. 30, 1984, to Sept. 19, 1986, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

``Congratulations to him,'' Johnson said after himself flirting with a no-hitter Wednesday night in the New York Yankees' game at Kansas City. The Big Unit gave up a leadoff triple to David DeJesus in the seventh.

In other NL games it was San Diego 2, Colorado 0 in 11 innings; Los Angeles 2, Milwaukee 1; Houston 5, Philadelphia 3; San Francisco 3, Cincinnati 2; New York sweeping Atlanta 4-1 and 8-0 in a doubleheader; Washington 7, St. Louis 6; and Chicago 7, Pittsburgh 2.

Before an announced crowd of 12,561 in Miami, Miguel Cabrera and Joe Borchard homered off Edgar Gonzalez (1-2), recalled from Triple-A Tucson to make his third start of season.

Padres 2, Rockies 0

Rookie Paul McAnulty hit his first career homer, a two-run shot off Nate Field (0-1) in the 11th at San Diego. The Padres, who have won five straight, remained within one game of the NL West-leading Dodgers and opened a three-game lead in the wild-card race, where Florida and Philadelphia are tied for second.

Sidearmer Cla Meredith (5-1), another rookie, pitched 1 2-3 innings to extend his scoreless innings streak to 29 _ over 25 appearances _ and break the franchise record for a reliever. Mark Davis set the old mark of 27 2-3 innings in 1988. The overall franchise record is 30 innings by Randy Jones in 1980.

Dodgers 2, Brewers 1

Derek Lowe (14-8) won his fifth straight decision, allowing three hits and an unearned run in eight innings to help visiting Los Angeles stop a three-game losing streak.

Matt Kemp scored the tying run and drove in the go-ahead run for Los Angeles, which avoided getting swept in the three-game series.

Chris Capuano (11-10) dropped to 1-6 in his last 11 starts, allowing two runs and five hits in eight innings.

Astros 5, Phillies 3

Lance Berkman hit a bases-clearing double against Ryan Madson (10-9) with two outs in the ninth at Philadelphia.

Andy Pettitte allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings for Houston. Dan Wheeler (2-5) retired the two batters he faced to earn the win. Brad Lidge pitched the ninth, allowing an unearned run, for his 30th save.

Giants 3, Reds 2

Jonathan Sanchez (3-0), who had made 22 relief appearances, allowed one run and two hits in 5 2-3 innings in his first major league start, striking out seven and walking two. Mike Stanton pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save, completing a six-hitter.

Ray Durham homered twice for the visiting Giants, who have won eight of 12 and trail the Padres by 3 1/2 games. The Reds lost for the 10th time in 12 games and dropped 4 1/2 games back of San Diego.

Sun-Woo Kim (0-1), obtained by the Reds on Tuesday from Colorado, allowed two runs and four hits in five innings.

Mets 4, Braves 1

Mets 8, Braves 0

Shawn Green was 6-for-8 with four runs scored and three RBIs in the doubleheader sweep as NL East-leading New York improved to 15-4 in its last 19 games and cut to eight its magic number for clinching its first division title since 1988.

Carlos Delgado hit a tiebreaking homer off John Smoltz (12-8) in the sixth inning of the opener to back Dave Williams (5-3), who allowed five hits in six innings. Billy Wagner got three outs for his 35th save.

Oliver Perez (3-11) pitched a five-hitter in the second game for his second career shutout, beating Kyle Davies (2-5). Visiting Atlanta played its third doubleheader in five days following two splits in Philadelphia.

Nationals 7, Cardinals 6

Jose Vidro ended a game of comebacks, lining a two-run single in the bottom of the ninth against Jason Isringhausen (4-8), who has 10 blown saves in 43 chances.

Washington led 5-4 before Preston Wilson's two-run, upper-deck homer in the top of the ninth off Chad Cordero (7-4), who blew a save for the fourth time in 28 chances _ but first since the All-Star break.

Cubs 7, Pirates 2

Derrek Lee hit a grand slam off John Grabow (4-2) on his 31st birthday to overcome a 2-1 deficit at Wrigley Field, the fourth straight year he's homered on his birthday.

Michael Wuertz (2-1) got two outs in the eighth to win in relief of Rich Hill, who struck out 11 in 7 1-3 innings. Hill set a team record for strikeouts by a left-hander, topping Steve Wilson's 10 on July 15, 1990, against the Dodgers.
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