The time to put some respect on Anibal Sanchez’s name is long overdue. The Braves signed the 12-year veteran to a one-year, $1 million deal in the offseason. The tiny investment has been paying huge dividends all season. Sanchez brought a 3.09 ERA and 1.08 WHIP into Wednesday’s game, where he would continue his stellar work.
It rarely came easy for Sanchez. Eleven Giants reached base over six innings; five of them came from walks, the most he has allowed all season. But every time the Giants had runners in scoring position, Sanchez was able to come up with a key out, and some times two of them. That has sort of been the theme for the Giants of late, who have lost their last eleven in a row.
Sanchez finished the game with a line of: 6 innings, 1 ER, 6 hits, 5 walks and 4 Ks. Giants starter, Derek Holland continued his superb work, tossing six innings of one-run ball as well. The Braves best opportunity to score came the inning after he exited.
Atlanta loaded the bases with nobody out, only for Tony Watson to mow down Adam Duvall, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies in order without allowing a run. Fortunately, the not always reliable Braves bullpen was at their best. Biddle relieved Sanchez, recording a scoreless seventh. Winkler pitched a stress free eighth, and was awarded a win after the Braves received the benefit of the doubt via replay.
With two outs in the top of the ninth, Charlie Culberson stood at third. Tyler Flowers came to the plate to pinch-hit for Daniel Winkler. On the third pitch, Flowers hit a hard ground ball to third that sent Evan Longoria to the dirt. Longoria fired a dart to first, but the umpire ruled Brandon Belt’s foot off the bag. After replay, it certainly looked like he was out. But hey, the Braves were owed one after all the calls that have not gone their way.
Jonny Venters pitched a one, two, three ninth for his second save of the season. The win lowers the Braves magic number down to 11 and completes the sweep over the Giants. They are now seven games up on the second place Phillies who take on the Nationals tonight.