The Florida Marlins right-hander makes his first start against the NL West-leading Diamondbacks since no-hitting them almost two years ago when the teams open a three-game series Friday night at Chase Field.
Making the 13th start of his career, Sanchez walked four and struck out six while not allowing a hit in beating Arizona 2-0 at home on Sept. 6, 2006. The 24-year-old finished 10-3 with a 2.83 ERA during that rookie season, but has made only 14 starts since that night.
After pitching in six games in 2007, Sanchez has rebounded from offseason shoulder surgery to go 2-2 with a 3.52 ERA this season.
“It’s different now,” Sanchez told the Marlins’ official Web site. “What happened in ’06 is in the past. I’m not thinking too much about the no-hitter. I just want to stay out there more innings: Seven, eight, nine innings.”
Sanchez has made it into the seventh inning once in four starts this season and allowed a run and three hits while striking out six and walking five in 5 1-3 innings of a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
On Friday, Sanchez hopes to help the Marlins (65-63) avoid a third straight loss as he matches up with future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson (10-9, 4.16), who is six wins shy of 300.
“I made one mistake, I guess that’s what it comes down to,” Johnson said.
The 44-year-old left-hander hasn’t made many mistakes against Florida during his career going 8-1 with a 1.82 ERA in 12 career starts, but none since 2004.
Conor Jackson had a pair of doubles and two RBIs on Thursday for Arizona, which has won eight of 10.
“It put a little length between us and L.A.,” said Jackson, who was 5-for-12 with against the Padres. “We need to take care of business.”
Florida closer Kevin Gregg allowed a run in the bottom of the ninth to lose for the second time in three appearances as the Marlins fell 4-3 at San Francisco on Thursday.
The Marlins are 7-12 in August and have lost four straight series while falling six games back of the NL East-leading New York Mets and eight off the wild-card lead.
“We can’t think about that,” Gregg said. “We’ve got to get ourselves back on the winning track right now and do whatever it takes to win ballgames. We can’t worry about how it puts us in the standings. We’ve got to win.”
Dan Uggla homered for the 27th time this season, but first since July 30 for the Marlins, who are expected to be without fellow All-Star Hanley Ramirez for a second straight game Friday due to a sore thumb.