PHILS AT HALFWAY POINT, SANCHEZ MAY BE THEIR BEST PITCHER!

By Sally Hanson

Cristopher Sánchez was dazzling against the Marlins, with nine strikeouts while recording his first career shutout.

The 27-year-old left-hander scattered just three hits on the night — all of them singles — and didn’t walk a batter.

Click to watch his complete game victory

He needed just 101 pitches (73 strikes) to navigate his nine brilliant innings. Sánchez generated 16 swings and misses in the ballgame — eight of those on his changeup — while registering a strong CSW of 34 percent.

Now 6-3 on the season, he carries a 2.41 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and a 79/24 K/BB ratio (93 1/3 innings) into Thursday’s showdown against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Sánchez (6-3), making his second start since signing a four-year, $22.5 million contract extension, allowed three hits, struck out nine and walked none for his first career complete game. The 27-year-old lefty retired 14 consecutive batters before Otto Lopez’s leadoff single in the eighth. Lopez was the lone batter to reach second base after advancing on a groundout.

“It was incredible,” Sánchez said through an interpreter. “Nothing is impossible if you want to do something. You just have to focus and work really hard.”

Sánchez, who lowered his ERA to 2.41, threw 73 of his 101 pitches for strikes.

“He’s come so far,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “Now, he’s a dominant pitcher in major league baseball. He’d be a number one on a lot of teams.”

“He’s one of the better young pitchers in the league,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said.

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