Found May 24, 2013 on
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If you had to take one guess as to which Twins player broke up Anibal Sanchez's no-hitter in the ninth inning Friday, chances are you'd pick the team's only three-time batting champion.
Indeed, Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer recorded the Twins' first and only hit of the game with one out in the top of the ninth inning Friday at Comerica Park. Mauer entered the game batting .339 on the year. On a 1-1 pitch from Sanchez with one out in the ninth, Mauer lined a base hit back up the middle, preventing the Tigers right-hander from making history.
It would have been Sanchez's second career no-hitter. He no-hit the Arizona Diamondbacks as a rookie with the Florida Marlins in 2006. But Mauer knows a thing or two about hitting, having won batting titles in 2006, 2008 and 2009.
Sanchez struck Mauer out twice Friday and also got him to ground into a fielder's choice in the first inning. The fourth time up, though, Mauer finally got the Twins' elusive hit.
"I knew I was coming into a tough ninth inning," Sanchez said. "Mauer, (Josh) Willingham and (Justin) Morneau, it's really hard to go there and feel comfortable. I made my best pitch, but Mauer is one of the best hitters in the league."
It was the third time in Mauer's 10-year career that he's broken up a no-hitter in the ninth inning. He also did so against Gavin Floyd on May 6, 2008 with one out in the ninth and against Rangers starter Rich Harden and three Texas relievers on Aug. 23, 2010.
Sanchez finished Friday's game with 12 strikeouts and three walks. He needed 130 pitches to finish the shutout.
But it was that pitch to Mauer with one out in the ninth that he'd like to have back.
"He gave up the hit to a great hitter," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "He's one of the best in all of baseball for several years now. It's not a fluke. It wasn't a blooper. It was to a great hitter. He had a shot at it, but when a guy like Mauer sees a guy that long during a course of a game, he's got a chance, obviously, to get a hit. He's a great hitter. It was just an unbelievable pitching performance by Sanchez."
Thanks to Mauer's single up the middle, the Twins avoided being no-hit for the second time in just over 12 months. Angels starter Jered Weaver no-hit Minnesota on May 2, 2012. Still, the 6-0 loss was the Twins' 10th straight loss, dropping them to 18-27 on the season. Minnesota starter Samuel Deduno made his season debut and lasted 5-13 innings but gave up six runs on nine hits and three walks. He also surrendered a home run to Don Kelly, a two-run shot in the third inning.
It really didn't matter who the Twins had on the mound, though. There was nothing any Minnesota batter could do against Sanchez.
That is, except for Mauer.
"He's just a great hitter," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "I'm sure that on their side (he's) probably the one guy they didn't want to have coming up in the ninth inning because he's a good hitter. He can do some things."
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