CHICAGO -- Anibal Sanchez had no margin of error for most of Wednesday night, and it made him even better.
Sanchez struck out 10 in a terrific performance, leading the Detroit Tigers to a 1-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox."It was a really good game," Sanchez said. "Both pitchers, we're fighting because we don't have the run support -- I had it at the end, but early. I think I had a really good game today."Even though we're in a race for the postseason, I'd rather be in a good game."Sanchez (14-7) allowed five hits and walked four in 7 1/3 innings while lowering his AL-best ERA to 2.50. Joaquin Benoit got three outs for his 18th save in 18 opportunities, completing a five-hitter for Detroit's 11th shutout of the season.Omar Infante drove in the game's only run with a two-out single against Matt Lindstrom (2-4) in the eighth inning.White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana pitched seven innings of five-hit ball. But he remained winless over his last five starts despite a 3.03 ERA over that stretch."In the end, I give a lot of credit to Quintana," Sanchez said. "He got out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning. He didn't allow any runs. He's pretty good, impressive."The same, of course, could be said of Sanchez, who worked out of mild trouble in the first and fifth. The right-hander seemed to get a strikeout or a ground ball every time he needed one.Sanchez has won each of his last three starts and is 7-0 with a 2.00 ERA over his last 10 outings, pushing him to a career-high 14 wins."He probably took advantage of some young, aggressive hitters," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.AL Central-leading Detroit loaded the bases with one out in the first, but Quintana got Victor Martinez to foul out and struck out Nick Castellanos to end the inning. Sanchez wiggled out of his own jam in the bottom half."A lot of swings and misses for Sanchez," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "But both of them were in a little bit of trouble and battled out of it. Sanchez just pitched better."The Tigers' next solid opportunity occurred when Infante led off the seventh with a hustle double to left and advanced to third on a groundout. Quintana then struck out Jose Iglesias, hit Austin Jackson with a pitch and got Torii Hunter to ground out to end the threat.Prince Fielder and Martinez hit consecutive one-out singles in the eighth to set up Infante's run-scoring single to left.The White Sox put two runners on with one out in the bottom half, chasing Sanchez from the game. Jose Veras came in and struck out Paul Konerko before he was replaced by Drew Smyly, who struck out Adam Dunn for the final out.The Tigers close out a 4-5 road trip and return home with a 6 1/2-game lead on second-place Cleveland in the division.
Suspended Tigers SS Jhonny Peralta said he understands why he won't regain his position if he is activated when his penalty is over. The shortstop job now belongs to Iglesias. Peralta said: "Iglesias is a really good player. He's settled to be the shortstop every day. I'm here to help the team in whatever position I can." ... White Sox rookie INF Marcus Semien got his third career start, replacing Conor Gillaspie at third base. Gillaspie made three errors on Tuesday, but Ventura sounded understanding of what happened during Chicago's 9-1 loss. "I've had a night like that and totally understand it," he said. "You don't sleep well because you care." ... The White Sox continue their homestand when they host Cleveland on Thursday, with LHP John Danks (4-12) facing Indians RHP Corey Kluber (8-5). ... The Tigers are off Thursday before beginning a home series against the Kansas City on Friday, with RHP Justin Verlander (12-11) going against Royals LHP Bruce Chen (7-2).