Sanchez, Giants a win away from title

GLENDALE – Freddy Sanchez’ bat might have cooled, but his glove has remained golden and the San Francisco Giants are a victory away from winning the franchise’s first World Series title since 1954.

Sanchez and the Giants defense backed up an all-around outstanding outing from pitcher Madison Bumgarner to defeat the host Texas Rangers, 4-0, on Sunday night in Game Four of the World Series to take a 3-1 lead.

“We gotta get a good night’s sleep and come back and try and get ‘em [today],” said Giants designated hitter Aubrey Huff, who followed a Sanchez groundout in the top of the third with a two-run home run.

Sanchez, the team’s starting second baseman and No. 2 hitter, and San Francisco will look to close out the series in today’s game in Texas at 4 p.m.

Sanchez, a former Glendale Community College standout, finished the game 0 for four, his second hitless game of the series, but did his share with the glove. He ended the second inning with a leaping snowcone catch of a Jeff Francoeur line drive and helped turn the only two double plays of the game.

At the dish, in his first two at-bats in particular, Sanchez didn’t get any great results as it relates to the box score, but did his share in working Texas starter Tommy Hunter.

After San Francisco leadoff man Andres Torres reached base on an infield single in the top of the first, Sanchez, despite coming in hitting .400 with runners on in the postseason, was given the bunt sign, but couldn’t get it down. Sanchez worked an eight-pitch at-bat, allowing Torres to steal second, that ended when he hit a hard grounder to third.

Torres doubled to start the third and Sanchez was again asked to sacrifice, a decision which drew questioning from Fox announcers Tim McCarver and Joe Buck. Sanchez ended up fouling off five straight pitches with an 0-2 count, before grounding out to third again on the ninth pitch of the at-bat. In the ensuing at-bat, Huff homered for a 2-0 lead.

Sanchez flew out to center field in the fifth and hit a comebacker to end the seventh.

The Giants added single runs in the seventh and eighth, but Bumgarner was the story, twirling eight shutout innings and allowing just three hits and two walks, while striking out six. 

On Saturday, Sanchez went one for four in the Rangers’ 4-2 win and also aided in turning three doubles plays. He also made a nice diving stop to rob Josh Hamilton of a hit in the third inning. He had a single in the first inning, but was left stranded.

 In the World Series, Sanchez is playing errorless defense and hitting .278 with three runs batted in, though after going four for five in Game One, has just one hit in his last 13 at-bats.

For the postseason, Sanchez is hitting .271 (16 for 59), but that comes after a two-for-16 performance in the Division Series, as he’s gone 14 for 43 (.325) in the League Championship Series and World Series combined.

The Burbank High graduate is the first local to appear in a World Series since Gregg Zaun, a Glendale native and St. Francis High graduate, did so in 1997 with the Florida Marlins.

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