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BASEBALL: Burbank graduate goes hitless but shows his fine defense with two outstanding plays.

July 12, 2006

BURBANK ? In just his second full season in the big leagues, Freddy Sanchez got the chance to do something most players never experience.

On Tuesday, the Burbank High graduate suited up for the National League team in the 77th Major League Baseball Game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

Sanchez's squad lost the game, 3-2, as the American League secured home-field advantage for the World Series.

Sanchez, 28 ? a 1996 Burbank graduate ? is a third baseman with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Sanchez proved popular with the public, as he led all Major League players with 856,685 write-in votes.

In front of the hometown crowd, Sanchez received a standing ovation during the pregame player introductions.

He got into the game in the fifth and played five innings. Although he went hitless in two at-bats, he did show off his fine defensive skills with three assists and two putouts, playing shortstop and second base

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At short in the fifth, Sanchez went up high to snag Mark Loretta's line drive, robbing him of a base hit.

He prevented another base hit in the eighth when he made a diving stop at second on a hard grounder by Grady Sizemore.

"I only had a couple of hours of sleep last night because I was tossing and turning, thinking about [Tuesday]," Sanchez said Monday at his All-Star press conference.

"This is unbelievable. It's crazy. I've never gone through anything like this before."

Sanchez has a remarkable first half of the season. His .358 average (106 for 296) has him tied for first in the National League and tied for second in Major League Baseball. Along with 50 runs scored, he also has 49 runs batted in, 29 doubles and five home runs.blr-sanchezmug12-BPhotoInfo9C1SR7A220060712hzw0mwkf(LA)Freddy

Sanchez

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