Sanchez finally heating up for San Francisco

GLENDALE — The following are updates on area Major League Baseball players.

Freddy Sanchez (Glendale Community College, 1998) second baseman, San Francisco Giants: Sanchez has stepped up his game at the plate while also doing the same in the field.

After being mired in a slump in the middle of August, Sanchez has since raised his batting average a tidy 19 points. The three-time All-Star and the 2006 National League batting champion was batting .261 on Aug. 12, but has since gone on a tear at the plate. In a recently concluded three-game home series against the Cincinnati Reds, which saw the Giants win two of the contests, Sanchez went nine for 11 with four runs scored.

That surge helped raise Sanchez's average to .280 and keep the Giants (71-57) in firm position in second place in the National League's West Division behind the surprising San Diego Padres and in contention in the wild-card hunt.

Sanchez, a Burbank High graduate, had a run-scoring single in San Francisco's 12-11 loss to Cincinnati on Wednesday. That came in the aftermath of two standout efforts against the Reds. On Tuesday, Sanchez collected four hits, including a solo home run in the second inning, and scored four runs in the Giants' 16-5 win. On Monday, Sanchez, who began the season on the disabled list, came through with four hits and drove in a pair of runs in an 11-2 win.

He has hit safely in eight of his last 10 games entering tonight's home game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

In 81 games, Sanchez is batting .280 (89 for 318) with three home runs and 33 runs batted in. He's collected 13 doubles and scored 40 runs.

In the field, Sanchez has yet to make an error. He's recorded 181 assists and 152 putouts.

Doug Slaten (Glendale Community College, 1999) relief pitcher, Washington Nationals: The 13th inning proved to be lucky for Slaten and the Nationals on Thursday night.

Slaten pitched a scoreless inning and Ian Desmond came through with a game-winning single to propel Washington to an 11-10 home victory against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Slaten (4-1) started off by walking Aaron Miles, who advanced to second on a wild pitch, but he worked through his control problems. However, Slaten induced two fly outs before intentionally walking Albert Pujols. Slaten escaped the jam by getting Adam Wainwright to pop up. Slaten made 21 pitches, nine for strikes.

Slaten, who lowered his earned-run average from 2.94 to 2.86, has struck out 31 in 34 2/3 innings. In 40 appearances, he's allowed 29 hits and 15 runs (11 earned).

It was Slaten's second victory in his last three appearances. Slaten picked up the win in relief in Washington's 8-1 road victory against the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday. He pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, striking out two.

On Monday, he gave up one run and two hits and struck out two in Washington's 9-1 loss against the visiting Chicago Cubs.

The Nationals are 54-74 and in last place in the National League's East Division.

Trevor Bell (Crescenta Valley High, 2005) pitcher, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Bell made his last appearance Saturday during a regionally televised game against the host Minnesota Twins. Drawing the starting assignment, the former All-Area Baseball Player of the Year didn't receive a decision in the Angels' 9-3 come-from-behind victory.

Bell, a right-hander, had bouts of wildness. He gave up three first-inning runs and finished with three strikeouts and six walks in 4 1/3 innings before being relieved by Francisco Rodriguez. Bell threw 97 pitches, including 56 for strikes.

The Angels (63-65 for third place in the American League's West Division) will next face the visiting Baltimore Orioles in a three-game homestand beginning tonight. Bell's turn to pitch would have been Thursday, thus the Angels skipped his spot in the rotation.

Bell is 1-3 with a 5.48 earned-run average in 22 appearances. He has struck out 32 and walked 17 in 42 2/3 innings and allowed 29 runs (26 earned) and 58 hits.

Bell was called up from the Triple-A Salt Lake City Bees July 30 after being sent down July 26, a day after making his first start of the season against the Texas Rangers.

Bell began the season at Salt Lake before being called up by the Angels on May 9. He has made 18 relief appearances with the Angels.

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