LOS ANGELES -- When Matt Cain recorded his first career victory over Los Angeles last month after enduring eight losing decisions, that left Jonathan Sanchez as the Giants' lone starter who's winless against the Dodgers. Sanchez will try to break that spell when he confronts the Dodgers in Sunday's series finale. He's 0-5 with a 6.04 ERA in 13 career appearances against Los Angeles, including 0-5, 6.25 in nine starts. At Dodger Stadium, Sanchez is 0-2 with an 8.40 ERA in five lifetime appearances (three starts). Consistency has eluded Sanchez overall. He hasn't made consecutive quality starts (three earned runs or fewer allowed in at least six innings) since April 14 and 20 -- his second and third outings of the season.
So perhaps it's ominous for the Giants that, in Sanchez's last start, he excelled against Colorado by yielding one run and five hits in eight-plus innings. But that marked the second time in three starts that Sanchez has pitched into the ninth inning. Logic dictates that if he can be that effective, he's good enough to put together decent back-to-back starts. "I worked in the offseason to finish strong," said Sanchez, who's 5 2/3 innings short of matching the career-best 163 1/3 he reached last year. "I just have to go out there and do my thing." Sanchez, who'll make his third attempt to secure his personal-best 10th victory, relishes pitching meaningful games such as this one. "Now that we're in the last month, everybody's watching the game," he said, motioning toward the San Diego-Colorado telecast in the visitors' clubhouse at Dodger Stadium. "And when that game's finished, they're going to watch us."