Sanchez was positively dominant in tossing a one-hitter his last time out, though he’ll have a stiff challenge duplicating that effort against the surging Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night at Sun Life Stadium.
That honor belongs to Sanchez (8-6, 3.33 ERA), who shut down hot-hitting San Francisco on the road Thursday. The Giants had won 13 of 16 coming in, but a fifth-inning single was all they could muster against the right-hander, who struck out eight in a 5-0 victory.
“I’m more happy because I’m really healthy,” said Sanchez, who pitched only 167 2-3 innings from 2007-2009 because of shoulder injuries. “That’s what I worked on in the offseason. The other thing is to help the team, because we’re really close. If we do a good job, we can make the playoffs. That’s what we want.”
The Marlins (53-53) took a step back in Tuesday’s opener against the Phillies (58-48), who got another stellar performance from their ace. Roy Halladay(notes) struck out nine over seven innings and Carlos Ruiz(notes) had four hits - including a homer - in a 6-1 win.
With its 10th victory in 12 games, Philadelphia pulled within two games of NL East-leading Atlanta. Perhaps even more impressively, the Phillies didn’t look like they missed Ryan Howard(notes), whom they placed on the 15-day disabled list prior to the game with a sprained left ankle.
Sanchez will definitely want to pitch carefully to Ruiz. The veteran catcher is 5 for 12 with two doubles and three walks in their matchups.
Sanchez was 0-4 with an 8.72 ERA in his first five career starts against the Phillies, but he’s turned it around within the past year. Since Sept. 22, 2009, Sanchez is 3-1 with a 1.95 ERA versus the two-time defending NL champions.
Philadelphia counters with Kyle Kendrick(notes) (6-4, 4.44), who has reason to be confident in light of his two starts since a brief demotion to the minors. The right-hander held Colorado to one run over seven innings in a 10-2 win July 24, then limited Arizona to a run in 6 1-3 innings of the Phillies’ 3-2, 11-inning victory Thursday.
“Yeah, I should have been pitching like that all the time,” Kendrick told the team’s official website. “Maybe it took (the demotion) to kick in a little bit. Yeah, go out there and pitch with an edge, pitch with some urgency - it was nice.”
Kendrick is 2-1 with a 4.91 ERA in four games - three starts - at Florida. He gave up two unearned runs over six innings of a 3-2 win there May 28.