ANAHEIM, Calif. —
“When I walked up to the plate, my legs started shaking uncontrollably,” Sanchez said. “I told (Angels catcher Chris) Iannetta: ‘I can’t stop shaking. I don’t know what to do.’ And he said: ‘Just breathe. Just breathe.’ So I took one step out of the box and took a breath, but that didn’t help. Then Blanton threw me a ball that I could handle. It felt really good off the bat, and I could not stop smiling. I didn’t think I was going to get the ball back. I thought it was going to be stuck up there.”
Blanton, who is 1-10, allowed three runs — one earned — and six hits in 7 1-3 innings. The right-hander struck out six, walked none and retired his last 14 batters. His only victory was May 23 during the Angels’ four-game sweep in Kansas City.
“Sometimes you have those years,” Blanton said. “Baseball is a crazy game sometimes, and you’ve just got to keep executing out there and doing your work between starts and don’t give up no matter what happens.”
For the third straight game, Alvarez homered his first time up after tagging Jered Weaver on Friday and Jerome Williams on Saturday. He is hitting .272 with 19 homers and 50 RBIs over his last 55 games, after batting .089 with one RBI in his first 13 games.
“He’s got his confidence back,” Martin said.
The Angels pulled ahead 5-1 in the second, parlaying errors by second baseman Walker and third baseman Alvarez into five runs — three of which were unearned.
Pittsburgh came back with a pair of unearned runs in the third.
Bourjos hurt his left thumb on a takeout slide and came out of the game. Newly acquired Brad Hawpe entered in right as the Angeles shuffled outfielders and then drove in the team’s sixth run with a two-out single in the fourth.