04/21/10 2:24 AM ET
Sanchez tagged with hard-luck loss
Left-hander's lone hit allowed results in deciding run
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
"They're trying, maybe too hard right now," he said. "You get in this rut, you press."Padres starter Mat Latos (1-1) lasted seven innings and retired the last 12 Giants he faced, but before and after that, they repeatedly squandered scoring opportunities. Eli Whiteside doubled leading off the third inning but was thrown out trying to advance on Sanchez's sacrifice-bunt attempt. Eugenio Velez's single preceded Edgar Renteria's second double-play grounder of the evening. Pablo Sandoval lashed his second single to open the fourth inning but was stranded on third base when Padres second baseman David Eckstein dove to snare John Bowker's broken-bat bloop to shallow center field. Facing reliever Mike Adams, Nate Schierholtz tripled to christen the eighth before Whiteside grounded out, pinch-hitter Bengie Molina popped up and Velez took a called third strike. Sandoval coaxed a one-out walk from Padres closer Heath Bell in the ninth before Huff singled pinch-runner Andres Torres to third base. But Juan Uribe, who homered off Bell to forge a ninth-inning tie Monday, hit a fly to right field that was too shallow to score Torres. Bell then fanned Bowker on a wicked slider to seal the Padres' fifth victory in a row, which pulled them into a first-place tie with the Giants in the National League West. Even what went right for the Giants turned out wrong. Chase Headley led off San Diego's fourth inning with its only hit, a clean single to center field, and stole second base. Kyle Blanks lifted a foul popup that Huff caught while tumbling into the first-base photographers' well.
"That's definitely a death trap right there," Huff said.
As Huff struggled to regain his footing and make sure he was still in one piece, Headley tagged up and advanced to third base. That enabled him to score on Scott Hairston's sacrifice fly.Sanchez (1-1) provided whatever consolation the Giants could derive from this game with his seven sterling innings. He amassed 10 strikeouts, his second consecutive double-digit total.
The left-hander's most fascinating inning was the second, when he walked the bases loaded but escaped by striking out the side.Sanchez reduced his ERA to 1.86 while maintaining his spell over the Padres, whom he no-hit last July 10. In his last four starts against San Diego, Sanchez has compiled a 1.98 ERA while allowing six hits and striking out 29 in 27 1/3 innings. "I'm throwing any pitch on any count," Sanchez said, explaining his success. "Before, I'd throw fastballs 90 percent of the time." Responding to a question from a San Diego-based reporter, Sanchez said that his stuff in this game was similar to the prowess he possessed in his no-hitter. Reminded that he said the same thing after his previous start, when he yielded Pittsburgh three hits in eight shutout innings last Wednesday, Sanchez grinned and said, "Kind of the same game, huh?" It was indeed kind of the same game, with a fresh, cruel twist or two for the Giants.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.