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Notes: Sanchez impresses in relief

Notes: Sanchez impresses in relief

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jonathan Sanchez delivered short-term results while displaying long-term promise, a fact the Giants fully appreciated scant hours after their 6-5, 12-inning victory Wednesday night over St. Louis.

The Giants want Sanchez, 24, to move into the starting rotation at some juncture. This destiny was especially evident as the left-hander blanked St. Louis over the final three innings, the longest relief outing of his career. Fooling the Cardinals with his mixture of fastballs and changeups, Sanchez demonstrated his aptitude for working more than just short stints.

The conditions under which Sanchez excelled further revealed his potential. He threw 45 pitches despite not having maintained that kind of workload in weeks. He also functioned coolly under the duress of extra innings.

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"He's in a crisis situation and showed great composure," manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday. "We think a lot of him. He's only going to get better."

Catcher Bengie Molina believes that Sanchez's ability to extend himself and still excel reflected the pitcher's toughness.

"That's when the heart comes out and the desire to win," Molina said. "He showed everybody that he wants to pitch."

Bochy said that a performance such as Sanchez's often can be contagious: "It fires up the players to see a kid pitching his heart out. They feed off that."

Ode to Red: First baseman-outfielder Mark Sweeney and left-hander Steve Kline, both former Cardinals, made sure to pay their respects to St. Louis legend Red Schoendienst before the series ended. Schoendienst, 84, continues to suit up for batting practice in his role as special assistant to general manager Walt Jocketty. Schoendienst was a 10-time All-Star infielder and managed the Cardinals to a World Series victory in 1967 and the National League pennant in 1968.

"He's baseball," Sweeney said of Schoendienst. "He's got passion and that's what we all have to learn from. It's very infectious. To see him in uniform is pretty awesome, too."

Major Minors: Entering Thursday, the Giants' Minor League clubs owned a collective 33-16 record, best among the 30 organizations. Augusta, San Francisco's lower Class A affiliate, led the way at 13-1.

One of Augusta's top performers has been right-hander Adam Cowart, who was named South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week after posting a 3-0 record with a 1.06 ERA.

Charting Omar: Omar Vizquel needed one hit entering Thursday to break a second-place tie with Cal Ripken Jr. for most hits by a shortstop since 1957 -- 2,479. Only Luis Aparicio has more during that period among shortstops (2,532).

Determining the all-time hits leader among shortstops depends on which list one consults. According to some counts, Hall of Famer Honus Wagner tops shortstops with 2,705 hits, although he's credited with 3,415 hits overall since he played several other positions. Wagner's followed by Aparicio with 2,677 (he collected 142 hits as a rookie in 1956) and Luke Appling with 2,593 (he had 2,749 overall).

Coming up: The Giants open a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night at AT&T Park. San Francisco has finished with a winning record against Arizona for five consecutive seasons, including 11-8 last year, although the Diamondbacks captured four of the final five meetings. Russ Ortiz, who was released by the Diamondbacks last June, will oppose left-hander Doug Davis.

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

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