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08/17/11 12:35 AM ET

Giants' Sanchez sprains left ankle, exits game

ATLANTA -- Jonathan Sanchez didn't rule out making his next scheduled start, despite spraining his left ankle in the third inning of the Giants' 2-1, 11-inning loss Tuesday night to the Atlanta Braves.

"If I feel good in two more days, I think I can make it," said Sanchez, whose next turn would occur Sunday at Houston.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy sounded less upbeat about Sanchez, who left Turner Field on crutches.

"It's hard to say how long, but he's going to be out for a while," Bochy said.

Bochy wouldn't comment on who might replace Sanchez. The most obvious choice is left-hander Dan Runzler, who started 10 games for Triple-A Fresno before replacing ailing right-hander Sergio Romo (elbow inflammation) on the active roster.

Sanchez, making his third start after spending six weeks on the disabled list with bicep tendinitis in his throwing arm, looked sharp against the Braves after having pitched erratically in his previous two outings.

"It was unfortunate, because he looked like he was where he normally is. He had good stuff and good command," Bochy said.

Then Sanchez attempted to field a sacrifice bunt by opposing pitcher Randall Delgado with one out in the third inning and Jose Constanza at first base. Sanchez fumbled the ball, slipped as he grabbed it and, with his left leg fully extended on the grass, threw out Delgado.

Sanchez explained that his spikes never dug into the turf. He added that he didn't fully realize he was seriously hurt until he tried to pitch to Michael Bourn, Atlanta's next hitter. Unable to push off his left leg, Sanchez missed badly with the first delivery to Bourn and immediately started walking off the mound. Sanchez was intercepted by athletic trainer Mark Gruesbeck, Bochy and various teammates, but there was no question that he would leave the game.

Guillermo Mota replaced Sanchez and threw 3 1/3 shutout innings.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.