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07/11/09 4:45 AM ET

Error ends Sanchez's bid for perfection

Uribe misplays tough hop at third in seventh inning

SAN FRANCISCO -- According to an unwritten rule of scoring a ballgame, the first hit must be a clean one.

Chase Headley's eighth-inning grounder on Friday night wasn't clean. So it wasn't a hit.

But it did result in an error for Giants third baseman Juan Uribe, shattering Jonathan Sanchez's bid for a perfect game after 7 1/3 innings. An undaunted Sanchez retired the next five San Diego Padres batters to seal his no-hitter and an 8-0 Giants triumph.

Uribe, who started the game at second base, moved to third in the seventh inning to replace Pablo Sandoval, who had a sore back. None of the Giants' fielders had to do much in the seventh, as Sanchez struck out the side.

Then came the eighth. With one out, Headley smacked a tricky grounder that Uribe tried to field on a short hop. The ball caromed off his chest and eluded him again as he hastily fumbled for it, enabling Headley to reach first base safely. The official scorer quickly ruled the play an error.

Headley, a converted third baseman, understood the difficulty of the play Uribe tried to make. The sequence began, he said, with Sanchez's pitch selection.

"It was a changeup, one of the very few changeups he threw all game, at least to me," Headley said. "Either way, it was softer than what he had been throwing. I got out in front of it and topped it. I didn't really watch the play develop. It's one of those plays at third base that's a tough play to make, an in-between hop with a lot of topspin on it. It's what I call the common third-base error. You get a couple of those a year."

There have been six previous no-hitters since 1900 that would have otherwise been perfect games if not for an error:
Terry Mulholland
For Phillies vs. Giants*
Jerry Reuss
For Dodgers vs. Giants
Dick Bosman
For Indians vs. A's
Bill McCahan
For A's vs. Senators
Walter Johnson
For Senators vs. Red Sox
Christy Mathewson
For Giants vs. Cubs**
* Charlie Hayes made an error on the first batter of the seventh inning, who was then wiped out on a double play. Mulholland faced the minimum.

** Two errors

Uribe quickly left the Giants' clubhouse, as is his custom, and was unavailable for comment.

It marked the sixth time that an error separated a pitcher from a perfect game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The most recent instance of this occurred on Aug. 15, 1990, when Philadelphia's Terry Mulholland no-hit the Giants.

Sanchez said that he didn't let Uribe's error affect him.

"That's in the past," he said. "You have to keep pitching and forget about that."

There have been 15 perfect games in Major League Baseball's modern era (since 1900). Current Giants left-hander Randy Johnson threw the last one, pitching for Arizona on May 18, 2004 at Atlanta.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.