"After the first hitter, it went well," he said.
Sanchez walked the first batter he faced in the seventh inning, Phillies pitcher Kyle Kendrick, and then retired the next six. He struck out Ty Wigginton with an 81-mph slider to open the eighth inning and finished the inning by throwing a 97-mph fastball past John Mayberry.
"[Saturday] was good," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We got him in there for the first inning, and in the second inning we really saw him settle down a little more. You're going to see some of what we saw in the first inning, too. We just need him to get the consistency to where he's pounding the zone, because when he's in the zone, he's not comfortable to hit off of.
"He's got the best swing-and-miss stuff we have on our staff, there's no question about that. It's just a matter of him commanding the zone."
Sanchez said he was just focused on throwing strikes. Eight of his 17 pitches in the seventh inning were strikes, while eight of his 14 pitches went for strikes in the eighth inning.
"He had a good fastball today and his command was there," catcher Tony Cruz said following Saturday's game. "When his command is there, he's good."