Sanchez helps Marlins salvage split against Phils
Sanchez allowed two hits in eight innings to slow Philadelphia’s march toward the NL East title, and the Florida Marlins’ 3-0 victory gave them a doubleheader split Tuesday.
Joe Blanton(notes) gave up two hits in seven shutout innings to outpitch Marlins ace Josh Johnson(notes) in the first game, which Philadelphia won 9-3. That reduced to five the Phillies’ magic number for clinching the division.
When Sanchez threw his final pitch to end the eighth inning of the nightcap, he walked off the mound to a roar from the crowd of 20,039.
“I don’t hear the fans,” he said with a smile. “I tried to be focused on the game.”
He did that well, beating Philadelphia for the first time in five career decisions. Sanchez (3-7) struck out seven and walked two in his longest outing since Sept. 16, 2006.
“Man oh man, we needed that,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Shutout baseball, with that lineup—you’ve got to tip your hat.”
Facing the NL’s highest-scoring team, Sanchez gave up a walk to start the game, then retired 10 in a row before Chase Utley(notes) singled. Those were the Phillies’ only baserunners until the seventh, when Utley led off with a double but was stranded.
Philadelphia finished the doubleheader 2 for 16 with runners in scoring position.
“Sanchez threw well,” Moyer said. “Sometimes you’ve got to tip your hat to the pitcher.”
“It’s fair for me to get him once, with the 80,000 times he has gotten me,” Uggla said.
The Phillies fell to 5-1 in doubleheader games this season, but they still could be division champs by the weekend.
“We’ve got to concern ourselves with tomorrow,” Moyer said. “There’s a lot more baseball to be played.”
Blanton (11-7) struck out nine and walked two. Johnson (15-5) twice struck out the side and had 10 strikeouts in five innings, but he gave up seven hits and four runs.
“If he doesn’t give up any runs, or if he gives up a lot of runs, I still have to go out and pitch and stick with the same game plan either way,” Blanton said.
The Marlins, beginning their final homestand, ended the night still trailing the defending World Series champions by eight games.
“We know we needed to win,” Johnson said. “Blanton went out and threw a great game.”
Philadelphia’s Raul Ibanez(notes) hit his 32nd homer in the opener. Jayson Werth(notes) and Ryan Howard(notes) each had a two-run single for the Phillies, who also scored on a wild pitch, two RBI groundouts and Jimmy Rollins’(notes) sacrifice fly.
“I think they hit one ball hard, and it was tough to swallow,” Johnson said. “I was trying to battle, make good pitches, and they just hit them. It was just one of those days.”
The Phillies won the opener despite striking out 16 times and going 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
Facing Sergio Escalano, Florida scored three times in the eighth, with one play destined for the blooper reel. When Hanley Ramirez hit an RBI double, center fielder Shane Victorino(notes) chased it down, but when he tried to throw the ball toward the infield, it slipped from his hand and landed at his feet.
Compounding the comedy, Florida’s Nick Johnson(notes) could have easily scored but didn’t see the bobble and stopped at third. Ramirez didn’t see Johnson stop and nearly caught up with him at third before retreating safely to second.
Gonzalez said Johnson and third-base coach Bo Porter failed to see the ball slip from Victorino’s hand.
Notes: Phillies RHP Brett Myers(notes) was diagnosed with a muscle strain in his back when he underwent an MRI exam Tuesday in Philadelphia. He’s scheduled to throw a bullpen session next Tuesday, and the Phillies are hoping he can pitch before the end of the season. … Marlins C John Baker(notes) left Game 1 in the seventh inning after a throw bruised his left hand. X-rays were negative, and he’s likely out until at least Friday.