Sanchez looks to extend his scoreless innings streak and help the Giants win a fourth straight series over the Dodgers in Thursday night’s finale.
The starting pitchers again dominated Wednesday, as Matt Cain(notes) and Chad Billingsley(notes) matched zeros through the first six innings before Mike Fontenot(notes) put the Giants ahead with an RBI single in the seventh. San Francisco added an important insurance run in the eighth before Andre Ethier(notes) hit a two-out homer off closer Brian Wilson(notes) in the ninth.
With the 2-1 victory, the Giants won for the 10th time in 14 games to move within one-half game of NL West-leading San Diego. San Francisco, which is 8-3 against the Dodgers since the All-Star break, is also one-half game behind Atlanta in the wild-card race.
“That’s kind of our way,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “The slogan: Giants baseball, torture. Or whatever it is. It’s the way we do things.”
The Giants have been winning behind a pitching staff that boasts a major league-best 1.63 ERA this month, and Sanchez (10-8, 3.29 ERA) has been key.
Sanchez has the majors’ third-best opponents’ batting average (.208) and has yielded just one run in 20 innings over his last three starts.
He has plenty of room for improvement from his latest outing, however.
In Friday’s 1-0 win over San Diego, Sanchez gave up just one hit but walked a season-high seven. The left-hander was lifted after five innings and didn’t get a decision.
Sanchez had much better control in his previous start at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 5, when he allowed three hits in seven innings of a 3-0 victory.
Los Angeles (72-74) has plated just 21 runs in its last 10 games, and one run or fewer in five of its last seven against the Giants.
“Leaving spring training I thought that was going to be our strong suit,” manager Joe Torre said.
San Francisco is experiencing similar problems.
The Giants have tallied two runs or fewer in five of seven games, while batting just .217 with runners in scoring position. Buster Posey(notes), Edgar Renteria(notes), Cody Ross(notes) and Pablo Sandoval(notes) are a combined 1 for 16 with runners in scoring position in the last seven.
It could be tough for San Francisco to get on track against Lilly (8-10, 3.58), who has yielded three runs or fewer in seven of eight starts since being acquired by Los Angeles in July.
Lilly, who posted a 1.83 ERA in winning his first five starts with the Dodgers, allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings in a 3-2 loss to Houston last Thursday. The left-hander faced the Giants on Sept. 4, permitting two runs on solo homers and three hits in seven innings, but didn’t receive a decision in the 5-4 loss.