Sanchez Shines as Giants Inch Closer in Playoff Race - NBC Bay Area

Sanchez Shines as Giants Inch Closer in Playoff Race



    Sanchez Shines as Giants Inch Closer in Playoff Race

    The San Francisco Giants admit they're watching the scoreboard, even though they're in control of their own fate.

    They already knew the NL West-leading San Diego Padres had lost 4-2 to Colorado earlier Sunday for their 10th consecutive defeat. The Giants then went out and kept up the pressure, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-0 to move within a game of first place.

    Jonathan Sanchez pitched seven crisp innings and Juan Uribe hit a two-run homer for the second straight game, helping the Giants win their third straight series against the rival Dodgers.

    "This is big to come in here and take a series," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

    The Giants have picked up 5½ games on San Diego during the Padres' skid, going 5-4 during that span, and there's seven games left in the season series between the teams. It's the closest they've been to first place in the division in the last 27 days.

    "I didn't think they'd be losing that many games," Sanchez said.

    After hitting four home runs in a 5-4 comeback victory on Saturday night, the Giants got just enough offense to get by the slumping Dodgers. Los Angeles has lost six of its last eight heading into a three-game series at San Diego beginning Monday.

    Sanchez (10-8) yielded three hits, struck out nine and walked one to win for just the second time in his last six appearances. The left-hander was 0-5 with a 6.04 ERA in 13 previous appearances against Los Angeles.

    "I just kept the ball down," he said. "It was an important game for us. I was getting ahead on every batter. I feel like I can go deep. I just get better every day."

    Sanchez shut down the heart of the Dodgers' lineup, with Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Casey Blake and James Loney going a combined 0 for 12 with one walk and Loney getting hit by a pitch.

    "Finally I got it (a 10th win) against the Dodgers, the team I want to beat," he said.

    Brian Wilson pitched a perfect ninth for his NL-leading 40th save.

    The Dodgers intentionally walked Uribe in his first two at-bats, mindful that first base was open and he had burned them Saturday night with a go-ahead homer in the ninth.

    But Hiroki Kuroda (10-12) pitched to Uribe in the seventh and he sent a 1-2 pitch into the lower left-field seats, raising his arms as soon as he connected. Pablo Sandoval, who reached on a leadoff single, also scored.

    Uribe fouled a ball off his left shin before hitting his 19th homer, causing him to leave the game.

    "It hurts right now. I think I can play tomorrow," he said.

    The Giants led 1-0 in the second on Sandoval's sacrifice fly that scored Buster Posey, who barely beat the throw from right fielder Ethier.

    They head to Arizona to take on the last place Diamondbacks tomorrow.


    (Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)