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Aníbal Sánchez perfect through 5 1⁄3; gives up one hit in Washington Nationals’ 14-4 win...

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Aníbal Sánchez retired the first 16 batters he faced in the second game of two with the Braves in SunTrust Park...

MLB: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez told reporters before the series opener on Tuesday night in Atlanta, GA’s SunTrust Park that he thought 35-year-old veteran starter Aníbal Sánchez would be able to return to make a start against his former team, as long as he got through a workout without any issues.

“He said he feels good,” Martinez said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.

“And he only missed one start, too. He said he feels good. But I want to make sure when I talk to him tonight he’s 100 percent.”

Sánchez had gotten off to a rough start this season, going (0-6) with a 5.10 ERA, a 4.79 FIP, 25 walks (5.31 BB/9) and 41 Ks (8.72 K/9) in nine starts and 42 13 innings pitched before the 14-year veteran suffered a left hamstring injury which landed him on the 10-Day Injured List.

Before he was reinstated, Martinez said he wasn’t sure how much the Nationals would get from Sánchez in his first start back.

“We won’t limit him,” Martinez said, as quoted by Washington Post writer Jesse Dougherty.

“We’ll just figure out how he’s doing, and it all depends on the leverage he is doing it in.”

Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies on Wednesday morning that they were hoping for five or six innings in the righty’s first start since May 16th.

“He’s good for 75-80 pitches or so,” Rizzo said, “so hopefully he gives us five or six good innings or so and we can turn it over to a hopefully rested bullpen and get us another ‘W’ there in Atlanta and get out of town and have a day off.”

Sánchez had a 4-0 lead to work with before he took the mound in the first, and an 8-0 lead when he came out for the second.

He retired the first nine batters he faced, took the mound in the fourth with a 9-0 lead, and made it 12 in a row set down on 50 pitches.

A 13-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth made it 15-straight outs on 63 pitches (with a 14-0 lead at that point), but after he struck Tyler Flowers out for the 16th straight out, a one-out single by Ozzie Albies in the bottom of the sixth broke up Sánchez’s bid for a perfect game. He issued a walk in the next at bat, but stranded both runners to complete six scoreless on 80 pitches.

That was it for Sánchez in Atlanta...

Aníbal Sánchez’s Line: 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 Ks, 80 P, 52 S, 4/6 GO/FO.

“It was getting a little hairy there,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters when asked if he was worried he might have to make a tough decision if Sánchez kept rolling through the Braves’ lineup after what ended up a 14-4 win. “You don’t ever want to wish that he gives up a hit, but I was like, ‘Oh boy.’ But he was fantastic.”

“Today is one of those days that everything is working really good,” Sánchez told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman. “I think the communication with [Kurt Suzuki] today was crazy. Like, everything that I think that I want to throw, he called it.”

Did he allow himself to think about the possibility of a perfect game or the second no-hitter of his career after he threw one as a rookie in 2006 and came close a few times in the years that followed?

“Yes, yes,” he acknowledged. “Basically in the fifth inning, when I faced the hard part of the lineup, then come to the sixth inning and strike out [Flowers] ... I said OK, I got a pretty good chance. I don’t know how many pitches I have. Don’t want to look. Don’t want to see it. I just want to keep pounding the strike zone. And next pitch? Base hit.”

“He kept everything down, [mixed] all his pitches up, but he was very effective,” Martinez said. “He’s very effective. That’s what I saw last year from Aníbal. Everything down in the zone, and he pitched really, really well.”