Philadelphia will look to complete a three-game sweep of the Giants and win its fifth straight overall Thursday night.
The Phillies (68-51) began this set tied with San Francisco (67-54) in the wild-card race, but have an opportunity to end it with a three-game lead after beating the Giants 9-3 in the series opener and 8-2 on Wednesday. Philadelphia, which is a major league-best 20-5 since a July 21 loss to St. Louis, trails NL East leader Atlanta by 2 1/2 games.
Jimmy Rollins(notes) led the way for the Phillies with a three-run homer and a triple in Wednesday’s win while double-play partner Chase Utley(notes) got his first hit since returning from thumb surgery, breaking an 0-for-7 slide with a swinging-bunt single.
“He’s tough as nails,” Phillies left fielder Raul Ibanez(notes) told the team’s official website of Utley. “You knew he was going to do everything in his power to get back on the field. Everything about him that he brings is positive for the team. It’s Chase. He brings himself. He’s always preparing to be at his best to win that game.”
San Francisco failed to get a win from its starting pitcher for the 14th consecutive game as Matt Cain(notes) yielded five runs in six innings. The Giants’ rotation, usually one of the team’s strengths, is 0-9 with a 5.97 ERA during that stretch.
Sanchez guaranteed a sweep of the Padres last weekend, but could not deliver on his promise, giving up three runs in 5 1-3 innings of San Francisco’s 3-2, series-opening loss to San Diego on Friday.
“I believe in my team, you know? I have confidence,” Sanchez said after the loss. “Nothing against them but I know if we keep fighting like this I think we’re going to make it.”
Sanchez gave up one run in five innings of a 5-1 win over the Phillies on April 26.
Hamels was stellar in a losing effort Friday, giving up one run and five hits over eight innings of a 1-0 loss to the New York Mets. Philadelphia hasn’t been able to put runs on the board for the left-hander, who has lost his last two starts by 1-0 scores.
“I can’t do anything else,” Hamels said. “I’m going to try to go out there and pitch to every hitter the best I possibly can and try to go as deep as I possibly can - and minimize the damage.”