Though Freddy Sanchez, like most of his teammates, struggled with the bat throughout the bulk of the National League Division Series for the San Francisco Giants against the Atlanta Braves, the former Burbank High and Glendale Community College standout can look ahead to another playoff series.
While Sanchez batted .125 in four games, it didn’t stop the Giants from winning the series in four games. Sanchez went hitless in four at-bats on Monday night in San Francisco’s 3-2 come-from-behind road victory.
San Francisco will meet the defending two-time National League-champion Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Championship Series beginning Saturday in Philadelphia. The second game will be played Sunday before moving to San Francisco on Oct. 19.
The Giants last appeared in the NLCS in 2002, when they bested the St. Louis Cardinals in five games before falling in seven games to the then-Anaheim Angels in the World Series.
Making his inaugural playoff appearance, Sanchez, a three-time All-Star and the 2006 National League batting champion, grounded out four times, including into a double play in the eighth inning after Andres Torres led off with a single. Earlier, he grounded out in the first, fourth and seventh. He finished two for 16 in the series, but did have a clutch hit in the ninth inning Sunday in San Francisco’s 3-2 victory.
On Sunday with the Giants trailing, 2-1, with a runner on first, Sanchez singled to center on a 1-2 pitch from reliever Craig Kimbrel. Aubrey Huff then knotted the game at 2 with a single that sent Sanchez to second. Sanchez then scored the game-winning run on an error by second baseman Brooks Conrad.
Sanchez, a 1996 Burbank High graduate who helped San Francisco win the West for the first time since 2003, was greeted by his teammates in the dugout before the Giants held off a comeback bid in the bottom of the inning.
All four NLDS games were decided by one run.
The teams split the first two games in San Francisco before heading to Atlanta. Sanchez, who was acquired by the Giants from the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009, had one hit in the first two games, a single in the first inning in the second contest. He was hit by a pitch in the ninth, but remained in the game.