Sanchez (2-0, 2.01 ERA) tossed seven solid innings of five-hit ball and didn't allow an earned run in his last outing, a 3-2 loss to the Astros on May 8, marking the fourth straight start he has lasted at least seven innings.
"I felt great," Sanchez said after the outing. "At the beginning, I felt comfortable, and that's important right now."
That's not a good sign for the Pirates, who are near the bottom of the Majors in hitting and have a track record of struggling against Sanchez, who one-hit the Bucs in his last outing against them on Sept. 10, striking out 11 and walking just three.
While the Pirates will have their hands full with Sanchez, the Marlins will be squaring off against a pitcher making his first start of the season. Righty Brad Lincoln, whose 0.63 ERA is third-lowest among National League relievers, will toe the rubber for Pittsburgh in place of the injured Erik Bedard.
Lincoln hasn't thrown more than 44 pitches in a game this season in a relief role.
"He's a strong kid," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We won't put him in a box. We'll start paying attention once he gets north of 60 [pitches]. I've just encouraged him to go as hard as he can as long as he can. We want him to keep pitching like he has been -- going out there with the mindset of just letting it go."
Marlins: Stanton heating up in May
After Sunday's 3-for-5 performance, which included a walk-off grand slam in the ninth, Giancarlo Stanton is hitting .354 (17-for-48) in 12 games in May. Stanton has six home runs, four doubles and 13 RBIs this month.
Pirates: Homecoming for McCutchen
Center fielder Andrew McCutchen, a Florida native, will be playing in his home state for the 10th time in his career. McCutchen has struggled there, where he is 9-for-38 with a pair of doubles, two RBIs and nine strikeouts.
On Sunday, the Pirates scored in the first inning for the second consecutive game after being held scoreless in the opening frame the previous 12 games, dating back to April 28.
The Marlins swept their six meetings with the Pirates last year, have won 12 of the last 14 games against them and own a 44-29 record at home against Pittsburgh.