Who would have been more excited on Friday night -- Luis Sanz or Luis Sanz?
That, at least for six innings, was a valid question at Dodd Stadium as brothers with identical names nearly teamed up on a perfect game -- and a trivia question.
Luis Angel Sanz, throwing to his brother, catcher Luis Alberto Sanz, was flawless for 6 1/3 frames before Jose Garcia's homer on a 3-2 pitch spoiled the perfecto bid in the first game of a doubleheader.
The Sanz Bros. finished off a one-hitter as the short-season Connecticut Tigers rolled to a 10-1 pounding of the Lowell Spinners.
"Oh man, that moment -- today was the first time. I had a perfect game going and I tried, but the last inning," Sanz said. "I was a little bit nervous. I threw the first two, three innings, but in that moment, [3-2] count, I wanted to be perfect."
Sanz was perhaps too perfect, leaving a payoff pitch over the plate. He struck out seven in his sixth win for the Tigers.
His brother, re-assigned from Class A West Michigan last week, went 0-for-2 in just his third start for Connecticut. His last game was his brother's previous outing on Aug. 24, when the 23-year-old right-hander held Vermont to an unearned run on three hits over seven innings.
Sanz said he never disagreed on pitch selection with his brother.
"I never checked tonight. Before the game, he told me, 'Hey you want to throw that pitch, check.' But whatever he gave me, I threw," he said. "I'm proud of my brother, we did the job."
Sanz struck out Garcia and got a pair of popups in the first, struck out Boss Moanaroa to end the second and fanned Minors Moniker Madness champion Seth Schwindenhammer leading off the third.
The native of Venezuela caught Garcia looking in the fourth and cruised through the fifth, despite an array of substitutions by Lowell. He struck out Schwindenhammer and Matthew Gedman in the sixth and got Keury De La Cruz to ground out to begin the seventh before Garcia smacked his sixth homer of the season.
Sanz got Nick Robinson and Adalberto Ibarra to bounce out to finish off his New York Penn League-leading third complete game.
"We didn't talk about the no-hitter [during the game]," he said. "We talked last night. He said, 'Hey, focus tomorrow night, keep the ball down. You remember the last time, seven innings? We need to try again.' But we never talked about the perfect game, we just needed to win this game."
It would have been the first no-hitter in the New York-Penn League since Brandon Moore tossed a seven-inning gem for Brooklyn on Aug. 23, 2009. The Tigers' last no-hitter was a combined effort by David Stokes, Anthony Shawler, Tyler Stohr on June 30, 2008, when the club was still in Oneonta, N.Y.
Sanz said his brother was excited after the final out of the one-hitter.
"He said, 'I'm very proud, we kept the ball down, kept the focus on the game,'" he said. "And he never lost the focus, too. I'm proud of him, too."
The Tigers' offense did its part, scoring six runs in the second and four more in the third. Javier Azcona hit a three-run homer and Tyler Collins delivered a two-run double in the second. An inning later, Chad Wright drew a bases-loaded walk and Eugenio Suarez followed with a three-run double.
Lowell starter Hunter Cervenka (2-8) was charged with 10 runs on seven hits and six walks over 2 2/3 innings. He faced only two batters fewer than Sanz.
Connecticut has a chance to reach the playoffs, another opportunity for the Sanz family to take the lead.
"I like when he catches, he was very good -- I'm comfortable with my brother, since we are brothers," the elder Sanz laughed. "But most importantly tonight, we won."