Thanks to another strong starting pitching performance, the Marlins were able to claim the series while scoring a total of eight runs. That's because they limited the Giants to five.
"A win is a win, especially with the way we've been playing. We'll take every win," said manager Ozzie Guillen, whose team entered San Francisco having lost eight of nine.
After Sanchez (2-0) lowered his ERA to 2.43 and Edward Mujica picked up his first save as a Marlin, Guillen stressed the offense needs to do more.
The Marlins left 15 on base Thursday, but were able to get just enough to make it a successful first leg of a nine-game road trip.
"We have to get better," Guillen said. "It's very hard for our pitching staff to go out there and shut people down every day. At least we have people on base. It's more fun having people on base than nobody on base.
"But we cannot get the big hit to open the game. Every time we have someone on base, something happens to shut people down. We don't have the big hit to rally. It's getting old, because the opportunity is out there."
Sanchez was making his third career start at AT&T Park. The two previous outings were shutouts. The lone run he allowed ended his string of 23 scoreless innings at the ballpark.
"We need to keep winning just to be in the race," Sanchez said. "I know Washington has got a pretty good team right now. At the end, we have to see. If we keep playing like that, we could see very good results."
The Marlins were able to manufacture just enough offense off Ryan Vogelsong, who gave up two runs (one earned) in seven innings.
Miami tacked on a big insurance run in the eighth off former Marlins reliever Clay Hensley. Brett Hayes doubled and went to third on pinch-hitter Austin Kearns' single to right. Jose Reyes delivered an RBI single to center.
It was a key run because the Giants countered with a run in the eighth. Gregor Blanco, who was 3-for-3, doubled off Randy Choate and scored on Melky Cabrera's RBI groundout off Ryan Webb.
Sanchez's seven innings were much needed because Heath Bell and Steve Cishek were not available in the series finale.
Mujica got the ninth, and he gave up a one-out single to Brandon Belt. But the right-hander was able to lock down his first save since 2009 when he was with the Padres.
"We have to be ready in the bullpen," Mujica said. "It's a hard situation right now. Heath Bell has had a couple of struggling outings. Cishek had two innings yesterday.
"We're ready to go no matter what the situation is. We have to go out there. Those kinds of [close] games, it's hard for us. We have to keep it close or stay like that. But we're ready to go every day."
The big inning still has avoided the Marlins, but they were able to chip away for runs in the first and second innings.
A defensive misplay by Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford set up an unearned run in the first. Reyes sprinted to second after slapping a ground ball that went through Crawford. Emilio Bonifacio's sacrifice bunt moved Reyes to third, and he scored on Ramirez's RBI groundout to third.
In the second, the Marlins used three singles to load the bases. With one out, Ramirez bounced into a fielder's choice to short. The Giants tried to turn an inning-ending double play, but Ramirez beat the throw to first. Hayes, who singled to open the inning, scored on Ramirez's second RBI ground ball.
Like Wednesday night, the Marlins scored early, but then the offense quieted.
"There were a lot of opportunities and we don't take advantage," Guillen said. "If we continue like that, the pitching staff is going to break down sooner or later. To pitch like that every day is kind of hard -- very hard."
Sanchez held San Francisco scoreless until the sixth.
Blanco slap-hit an infield single, and he moved to third on Conor Gillaspie's single to center. With runners on the corners and no outs, Cabrera bounced into a 3-6-3 double play. On the play, Blanco scored, ending Sanchez's impressive string of not allowing a run at AT&T Park.
Sanchez wiggled out of a jam in the seventh after Angel Pagan and Belt each singled and were on second and third with one out. But the threat was turned away when Sanchez retired pinch-hitter Nate Schierholtz on a fly ball that was caught in foul territory by left fielder Logan Morrison.
Pagan tagged but held at third. Sanchez ended the inning by getting pinch-hitter Ryan Theriot to ground out to second.
"Anibal was Anibal," said Hayes, who had three hits and scored twice. "He was attacking the zone. He was very aggressive. All of his pitches were in the zone. He's just nasty. It's definitely fun to catch when he's on like that. What can you say, he's doing his job."