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Sanchez catches Zito in Game 4, Posey to first

Sanchez catches Zito in Game 4, Posey to first

Sanchez catches Zito in Game 4, Posey to first
CINCINNATI -- Maintaining the strategy he employed all year, manager Bruce Bochy started Hector Sanchez at catcher in Wednesday's Game 4 of the Division Series, pairing the rookie with left-hander Barry Zito.

As was often the case during the regular season, Buster Posey, who caught the series' first three games against the Cincinnati Reds, moved to first base. That, in turn, forced first baseman Brandon Belt to the bench.

Sanchez caught 25 of Zito's 32 regular-season starts. Bochy saw no reason to break up this successful tandem. In Sanchez's 48 starts behind the plate overall, the Giants posted a 30-18 record.

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"This is how we've done it," Bochy said. "Sanchez has done a great job catching and gotten some big hits. After contemplating it for a while I decided to go with it."

Sanchez, who didn't appear in the series' first three games, hit .280 in 74 regular-season games. Meanwhile, Belt has been gripped by the offensive malaise that has stricken most of the Giants, who entered Wednesday batting .126 (12-for-95) in the series. Belt was 1-for-9 overall, including 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in Tuesday's Game 3.

Bochy excused Belt by citing the excellence of Cincinnati's pitching. "But I will say that maybe Sanchez can help the offense a little bit," Bochy added.

Posey, the National League's batting champion with a .336 average, hit .378 with a 1.093 OPS in his 29 games at first base.

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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