His spot on the team -- and in the rotation - is now more secure.
The rookie extended his shutout streak to 18 1/3 innings, allowing one hit in seven-plus innings Wednesday to help Florida beat the Washington Nationals 1-0.
Acquired last November in the trade that sent Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to the Boston Red Sox, Sanchez started the season at Double-A Carolina and was recalled June 25. The right-hander pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings against the New York Yankees in his debut.
"I didn't know if I was going to stay in the big leagues," he said. "I'm pitching with more confidence now."
Said manager Joe Girardi: "He should be confident, the way he has thrown."
Sanchez is 3-0 with an ERA of 3.41, including a 1.46 ERA in four starts. He beat Roger Clemens in his last outing and has given up only three hits in his past 14 innings.
The Nationals' lone hit off Sanchez was a line drive to right-center by Austin Kearns leading off the third. Washington's Ryan Zimmerman went 0-for-4, ending his 17-game hitting streak, a franchise rookie record.
Joe Borowski pitched the ninth for his 19th save in 21 chances. With runners at the corners, he struck out Marlon Anderson and retired Kearns on a 400-foot fly to center to finish the two-hitter.
"That's as good a game as we've pitched all year," Girardi said. The shutout was the third for the Marlins, who improved to 10-19 in one-run games.
Cody Ross produced the only run off Ramon Ortiz (6-9) in the second inning with a two-out home run, his fifth.
"When Cody hit the home run I thought, I've got to keep them scoreless," Sanchez said.
Washington went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, stranding three at third base.
"Opportunities -- we can't take advantage of them," manager Frank Robinson said. "How many times have we said that? We're a major league ballclub, and we can't get people in from third?"
Sanchez walked the first two batters in the fifth, but Brian Schneider grounded into a double play and Ortiz struck out.
"Anibal has shown he's got some poise," catcher Matt Treanor said. "He'll make some bad pitches and then regroup."
Sanchez, who threw 106 pitches on an 89-degree afternoon, departed after walking Kearns to start the eighth. Taylor Tankersley came on and struck out Felipe Lopez with two on to end the inning.
Ortiz lost his third start in a row despite limiting Florida to six hits in seven innings.
"Nothing's going good for us," he said. "It's unbelievable. It's a crazy game, man."
Starters are winless in the past 12 games for the last-place Nationals.
|Anibal Sanchez yields one hit over seven innings, extending his scoreless streak to 18 1/3 innings. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Alfonso Soriano, LF||3||0||0||0||1||0||1||.280|
|Felipe Lopez, SS||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.255|
|Ryan Zimmerman, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||.289|
|Nick Johnson, 1B||2||0||0||0||2||1||0||.301|
|Alex Escobar, CF||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.417|
|Marlon Anderson, 2B||3||0||0||0||1||2||2||.265|
|Austin Kearns, RF||2||0||1||0||2||0||2||.267|
|Brian Schneider, C||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.231|
|Ramon Ortiz, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||2||.088|
|a- Luis Matos, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.210|
|Micah Bowie, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-flied out for Ortiz in the 8th|
|SH - Brian Schneider (2)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|Ramon Ortiz (L,6-9)||7||6||1||1||1||2||1||4.73|
|Pitches-Strikes - Ramon Ortiz 95-62, Micah Bowie 18-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ramon Ortiz 6-11|
|Batters Faced - Ramon Ortiz 26, Micah Bowie 4|
|Alfredo Amezaga, CF||4||0||2||0||0||0||0||.270|
|Hanley Ramirez, SS||3||0||1||0||1||0||0||.271|
|Mike Jacobs, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||1||3||.282|
|Joe Borowski, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Miguel Cabrera, 3B||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.332|
|Dan Uggla, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.295|
|Jeremy Hermida, RF||2||0||0||0||1||0||1||.297|
|Cody Ross, LF||3||1||2||1||0||1||1||.250|
|Matt Treanor, C||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.206|
|Anibal Sanchez, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.143|
|Taylor Tankersley, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Wes Helms, PH-1B||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.269|
|a-struck out for Tankersley in the 8th|
|HR - Cody Ross (5, Ortiz)|
|RBI - Cody Ross (21)|
|2-OUT RBI - Cody Ross (9)|
|CS - Jeremy Hermida (1, 2nd base by Ortiz/Schneider)|
|PK - Alfredo Amezaga (1, Ortiz)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - H. Ramirez-Jacobs|
|Anibal Sanchez (W,3-0)||7||1||0||0||4||5||0||3.41|
|Taylor Tankersley (H,7)||1||0||0||0||1||1||0||1.42|
|Joe Borowski (S,19)||1||1||0||0||1||1||0||3.55|
|IBB - Soriano by Taylor Tankersley|
|Pitches-Strikes - Anibal Sanchez 106-64, Taylor Tankersley 19-8, Joe Borowski 22-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Anibal Sanchez 10-5, Taylor Tankersley 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Anibal Sanchez 25, Taylor Tankersley 4, Joe Borowski 5|
|Attendance - 25546|
|Game Time - 2:26|
|Temperature - 89|
|Umpires - Home - Ron Kulpa, First Base - Dan Iassogna, Second Base - Lance Barksdale, Third Base - Dale Scott|