Sanchez struck out seven and tossed seven scoreless innings in the Blue Jays' 4-2 victory over the Padres on Monday night at Rogers Centre, San Diego's first ever game in Toronto. He scattered three hits and has allowed two earned runs or fewer in all but one of his 10 starts since the beginning of June.
"It was just a good night for me," Sanchez said. "When you can command your fastball up and down, in and out, it's a fun game for myself out there, and that's what it was tonight. Going into today, these guys have been hot, so I knew I had to be on top of my game. It was just fun to be out there and be able to execute pitch after pitch."
Left fielder Alex Dickerson was the standout on offense for the Padres. He had a pair of hits off Sanchez and then unloaded in the ninth inning with a two-run homer into the fifth deck in right field. San Diego has homered in 23 consecutive games, which is the longest streak in the National League since the 2006 Braves accomplished the same feat. San Diego is also just four games shy of the all-time mark, set by the Rangers in '02.
"It's cool that everybody's kind of a home run threat, one through nine, for the most part," Dickerson said. "The streak is a fun thing to keep track of. Realistically, we'll take a win with a bunch of singles."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Stretching it out: The Blue Jays were held without a hit until Saunders hit a one-out triple in the fourth inning. It was Saunders' third triple of the year and his fourth extra-base hit in the last four games. Troy Tulowitzki made sure this one did not go to waste when he followed in the next at-bat with a deep fly to center field. Travis Jankowski made a nice catch to possibly take extra bases away from Tulowitzki, but it was still enough to score Saunders.
Jays make Rea pay: Rea looked sharp early, starting his night with three hitless frames. He finished the first with a nasty cutter that froze Edwin Encarnacion -- signs of the putaway pitch that has eluded Rea during his recent rough stretch. He also threw his curveball in just about any count and called it "the best it's been all year." But the Blue Jays got to Rea with a trio of extra-base hits over the fourth and fifth.
"They're going to hit balls hard," Padres skipper Andy Green said. "It's just the kind of club they have, they're going to square some baseballs up. It's about minimizing it."
In that vein, Rea was more frustrated with his four walks, saying, "Overall, I felt pretty good. I just need to, next time out, be a little bit more aggressive."
The broken bat: Travis showed off some of his strength in the fifth, when he broke his bat but still got enough of it to hit a double to the corner in left field. Pillar came around to score, and Travis followed suit two batters later when Donaldson hit an RBI single to left. Travis added a single and walked and has reached base at least twice in four of his past six games. Monday's game also marked the first in which the Blue Jays had the trio of Jose Bautista, Tulowitzki and Travis in the lineup together.
"It is a plus to have these guys back," Sanchez said. "They have a track record of doing some pretty good things in this game, so to have those guys behind me and back in the lineup is a huge improvement to this club. Hopefully, these guys stay healthy the remainder of the year and we get some wins bunched up here."
Dominguez the acrobat: Padres reliever Jose Dominguez initially appeared to miss first base while covering on a double-play attempt in the seventh. But Green challenged the ruling, and replays showed that Dominguez indeed touched the bag -- but not with his foot. As the Padres right-hander struggled to find the base, he leaned backward and sat on the bag with his backside, securing one of the more unusual double plays of the season. He'd later get Encarnacion to fly out to left, completing a scoreless inning.
"If you're ever privileged to stand close enough to the dugout to listen to him on deck, he literally whistles the bat. I've never heard anyone else swing a bat like that on deck. It sounds like those yellow Wiffle ball bats when you're a little kid and you swing them in the backyard." -- Green, on Dickerson
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Dickerson's home run in the ninth inning was just the third time a player hit one into the fifth deck in right field at Rogers Centre. Shawn Green (April 22, 1999) and Carlos Delgado (July 19, '98) also did it.
Before the review in the seventh, the Padres challenged a play at first base in the first inning. Yangervis Solarte was initially ruled out, but review showed he beat out the throw, and the call was overturned.
COACH BALSLEY RECOVERING
Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley will miss the club's series in Toronto after undergoing a planned surgical procedure on his left hand on Monday. Bullpen coach Doug Bochtler filled in Monday night, and he will continue to do so in Balsley's absence. Balsley is expected back when the club returns to San Diego on Friday night.
WHAT'S NEXT Padres:Andrew Cashner has had his name thrown around in trade rumors for the better part of the past week. But as of now, the Padres expect Cashner to pitch Tuesday night in Toronto, as he looks for his third straight solid outing. First pitch is slated for 4:07 p.m. PT, and -- in the event Cashner gets dealt -- the Padres have long-man Paul Clemens available as a contingency.
Blue Jays: Right-hander Marcus Stroman will take the mound when the Blue Jays continue their three-game series vs. the Padres on Tuesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET. Stroman has allowed two earned runs or fewer in three of his past four outings with the one poor start coming on July 15, when he surrendered seven runs (six earned) over 4 2/3 innings.