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Sanchez has the right stuff

When Anibal Sanchez earned his first major league win last month at Yankee Stadium, he was unsure whether he would get another start with the Florida Marlins or return to the minors.

His spot on the team -- and in the rotation -- is now more secure.

The rookie extended his shutout streak to 18 1/3 innings, allowing one hit in seven innings-plus yesterday to help host Florida beat the Washington Nationals, 1-0.

Acquired last November in the trade that sent Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to the Red Sox, Sanchez started the season at Double A Carolina and was recalled June 25. The righthander pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings against the Yankees in his debut.

Sanchez is 3-0 with an ERA of 3.41, including a 1.46 ERA in four starts. He beat Roger Clemens in his last outing and has given up only three hits in his past 14 innings.

The Nationals' lone hit off Sanchez was a line drive to right-center by Austin Kearns leading off the third. Washington's Ryan Zimmerman went 0 for 4, ending his 17-game hitting streak, a franchise rookie record.

Cardinals 8, Braves 3 -- Chris Carpenter (9-4) shut down Atlanta and Jim Edmonds hit a three-run homer, leading host St. Louis to its eighth win in 10 games in stormy St. Louis.

The game was delayed 2 hours 12 minutes by a fierce storm causing high winds that injured 30 people of the sellout crowd .

Diamondbacks 8, Dodgers 0 -- Miguel Batista pitched a six-hitter and Stephen Drew had three hits to help host Arizona.

Batista (9-5) struck out two and walked two in his third complete game of the season. It was his first shutout since he blanked the Dodgers June 9, 2004, when he was pitching for the Blue Jays.

Phillies 5, Padres 4 -- Bobby Abreu hit a two-run double in the ninth inning off a suddenly shaky Trevor Hoffman, and Philadelphia rallied at San Diego to avoid a three-game sweep.

Hoffman has two blown saves in his last three chances, plus one in the All-Star Game last week.

Giants 7, Brewers 6 -- Ray Durham hit a two-run single off closer Derrick Turnbow's glove in the ninth inning to lift host San Francisco.

Durham also hit a two-run homer in the fifth. Rookie Eliezer Alfonzo hit a solo homer in the eighth for San Francisco and Barry Bonds's pinch single in the ninth started the rally.

Pirates 6, Rockies 5 -- Joe Randa drove in three runs and host Pittsburgh won its second consecutive series for only the second time this season.

Mariners 3, Yankees 2 -- Ichiro Suzuki touched off Seattle's go-ahead rally in the eighth inning with his third hit of the game and the Mariners snapped a four-game losing streak, defeating host New York.

The loss ended a five-game winning streak for the Yankees, who had won nine of 10.

J.J. Putz got three outs for his 18th save in 21 tries. He blew a ninth-inning chance in the Mariners' previous game -- a 5-4 loss in 11 innings to the Yankees that, because of a long rain delay, ended around 12:40 a.m. yesterday.

Richie Sexson homered for Seattle off Randy Johnson (10-8), who struck out a season-high 11.

Tigers 5, White Sox 2 -- Craig Monroe hit Detroit's first grand slam of the season and Jeremy Bonderman (10-4) allowed two runs over 7 1/3 innings to lead host Detroit.

Detroit (63-21) has the best record in baseball and leads the AL Central by 4 1/2 games over the White Sox, who have the second-best record in the majors.

Indians 6, Angels 4 -- Ben Broussard hit a two-run homer that snapped John Lackey's scoreless string at 30 2/3 innings, and Cleveland ended host Los Angeles's eight-game winning streak.

Athletics 5, Orioles 1 -- Barry Zito (10-6) pitched seven innings of five-hit ball, Frank Thomas homered and drove in three runs, and Oakland beat Kris Benson (9-9) and host Baltimore.

Twins 7, Devil Rays 2 -- Rondell White hit two home runs to lead host Minnesota to its sixth straight victory.

Rangers 5, Blue Jays 4 -- Kevin Millwood earned his 10th win and Gary Matthews Jr. hit a go-ahead double in a four-run seventh inning to help Texas beat host Toronto.

Reds 7, Mets 4 -- Jason LaRue's two-run double in the eighth inning sparked host Cincinnati over New York in a game delayed by rain for 2 hours 23 minutes.

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