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Aníbal Sánchez earns 100th career win in Nationals’ 15-5 win over D-backs

Aníbal Sánchez has a a 1.54 ERA in 23 1⁄3 innings pitched over four starts since returning from an IL stint...

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MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

In three starts after coming off a stint on the Injured List for a left hamstring issue before Sunday’s matchup with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Aníbal Sánchez was (2-0) with a 1.04 ERA, three walks, 15 Ks, and a stingy .153/.194/.254 line against in 17 13 innings pitched.

Sánchez, 35, was winless in his first nine outings, with a 5.10 ERA and a .263/.353/.463 line against in 42 13 IP to start the season, but the trip to the IL, Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN’s Sports Junkies this week, gave the 14-year veteran time to heal up and get right.

“He’s strengthened his core muscles and his lower body,” Rizzo explained, noting that the right-hander was not 100% at the start of the season but appeared to be since he returned.

“I think that you’re seeing the effects of it right now. His command is much, much better, and he’s a pitcher that’s reliant on [having] pinpoint accuracy with all of his pitches, and he’s inducing the soft contact that we saw the last couple years.

“I think he’s becoming the pitcher that we envisioned him [being] when we signed him.”

Sánchez gave up a run in the first on Sunday, on a solo shot by Ketel Marte, and a run in the fourth on a sac fly by Nick Ahmed, but the Nationals were up 7-2 after the home-half of the fourth inning, and they added a run in the fifth, 8-2.

Sánchez stranded two runners in a 24-pitch sixth and was done for the day after throwing a total of 98 pitches overall.

Aníbal Sánchez’s Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 98 P, 62 S, 6/6 GO/FO.

Sánchez averaged 76 pitches in his first three starts off the IL, so the 98 was a step up for the right-hander, and is what his manager said he expects will be the norm going forward.

“It was good,” Martinez said.

“He got us through six innings, which was awesome, and he didn’t have very many innings where they were high-leverage, so it was good that he got out there and got stretched out.”

“I don’t think about what happened before the injury,” Sánchez told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman after the 15-5 win.

“I think right now I’m feeling like it’s a new season for me.”

Over his last four starts, Sánchez now has a 1.54 ERA in 23 13 innings pitched, leaving him with a 3.84 ERA, 28 walks (3.84 BB/9), and 59 Ks (8.09 K/9) in 65 23 IP overall.

The win left Sánchez (W, 3-6) on the season, and it was the 100th win of his career.