That outing was not a sign of things to come for Sanchez, however. The left-hander has pitched well at times this season, but his inconsistency and lack of control has negated whatever success he's found. Despite only making 18 starts this season due to a trip to the disabled list, Sanchez is second in the NL with 65 walks. His record stands at 4-7, his ERA at 4.29 and his WHIP an unimpressive 1.46.
With an offensive attack that has been decimated by injuries and scuffled through the better part of the season, the Giants will need the Sanchez of last October to show up at Turner Field on Tuesday. Firmly in control of a NL Wild Card race the Giants might have to consider if they can't overcome the NL West-leading D-backs, the Braves will counter with highly regarded prospect Randall Delgado, making his second Major League start in place of the injured Tommy Hanson.
Delgado lost his first start with the Braves this season, allowing three earned runs on seven hits and two walks in four innings, and posted a 5-5 record and 3.84 ERA with Double-A Mississippi. Since a promotion to Triple-A Gwinnett, he's been dominant. The 21-year-old right-hander made two starts for Gwinnett, not allowing a run and striking out 15 over 13 innings pitched.
"Thirteen scoreless innings pretty much speak for themselves. The young man has impressed me," Gwinnett manager Dave Brundage said. "I'm impressed not only that he has 13 scoreless innings, but the way he's gone about it. He's like a horse standing on that mound. That's kind of his mentality. He's gone after guys.
"I've probably been most impressed that he pitches inside and commands both sides of the plate. Some young guys when they move up aren't comfortable going inside. But he is."
Sanchez hasn't looked comfortable doing much of anything over his last few starts. The left-hander was on top of his game down the stretch last season, posting a 1.01 ERA in six starts in September and October, but he's failed to get out of the fifth inning in his previous four starts and seen his ERA climb from 3.47 to 4.29.
"Last year I didn't get hurt. This year, I'm just struggling a little bit," Sanchez said after his last start. "But I know I can be that pitcher I was in August and September last year."
With Barry Zito suffering a sprained ankle during a rehab start, the Giants' starting pitching depth is limited. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong and Madison Bumgarner have been excellent all season, and San Francisco would like to see Sanchez lock down the final spot in the rotation.
"We have to be a little concerned because we need [the fifth starter] to help us win a ballgame, too," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We haven't had a good start there in I don't know how many now."
Giants: Injury list keeps growing
Third baseman Pablo Sandoval, the club's best all-around hitter, left Monday night's game in the first inning after fouling a ball off his right foot. Sandoval, batting a team-high .309 with an .869 OPS, underwent X-rays that came back negative.
Carlos Beltran (strained right hand) is "doubtful" to play for the rest of the series in Atlanta, Bochy said Monday. Beltran might even head to the disabled list before Tuesday's game. "If there's no improvement or very little improvement, we may have to make a call," Bochy said.
Reliever Sergio Romo is dealing with a sore throwing elbow and could head to the disabled list soon, Bochy said Monday, a decision that would likely result in the promotion of left-hander Dan Runzler.
Braves: Uggla gets first post-streak hit
After seeing his Atlanta-record 33-game hitting streak come to an end Sunday, Dan Uggla started up a new one Monday with a ground-rule double in the fifth inning. Uggla finished 1-for-4 on the night. Entering Monday's game, Uggla needed to bat above .400 if he hoped to avoid owning the lowest batting average by a player who produced a 30-game hitting streak. That distinction currently belongs to Willy Taveras (.278), and Uggla would have to come a long way in the Braves' final 40 games to boost his .231 average above that mark.
Chipper Jones sat out Monday's game in order to rest his left knee. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Jones jammed his knee running to first base in the eighth inning Sunday. "I'm going to give him a little breather," Gonzalez said. "He's a little sore today, so I didn't want to take any chances."
With a 5-4 win Monday night, the Braves bounced back from two straight losses and extended their NL Wild Card lead over the Giants to five games.
Brandon Belt, the Giants' top prospect who has bounced between the Majors and Triple-A Fresno all season, made his second straight start Monday, playing left field and finishing 0-for-3 at the plate. With the right-handed Delgado on the mound, it appears likely Belt will get another start.