Published January 13, 2015
Omar Infante knocked in the lone run of the contest in the eighth inning, backing seven scoreless frames from Anibal Sanchez, and Detroit nipped Chicago, 1-0, in the rubber match of a three-game series.
Sanchez (14-7) allowed five hits and four walks but fanned 10 in the victory for the Tigers, who won two in a row after dropping three straight.
"Early in the game he struggled with his command, but as the game went on he got sharper. Those last two innings were really good," said Tigers catcher Alex Avila.
Detroit now holds a 6 1/2 game lead in the AL Central over Cleveland, which lost earlier Wednesday to Kansas City.
Matt Lindstrom (2-4) was responsible for the deciding run for the White Sox, whose starter, Jose Quintana, also tossed seven innings of scoreless ball -- fanning six and walking only two.
"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 finally broke through in their second-to-last turn at the plate. Prince Fielder hit a one-out single, Victor Martinez singled him to second and two batters later, an Infante single made it 1-0.
Sanchez fanned Leury Garcia to start the bottom of the eighth, but after allowing a single to Jordan Danks and walking Alexei Ramirez, was pulled for Jose Veras. He fanned Paul Konerko, then gave way to Drew Smyly, who struck out Adam Dunn to keep it a one-run contest.
Joaquin Benoit then turned in a quiet ninth to earn his 18th save.
Sanchez and Quintana matched each other zero for zero with only minimal trouble.
The former was helped by a double-play grounder from Konerko in the first, then stranded a pair in the third on a Ramirez fielder's choice grounder and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fifth thanks to another Ramirez ground ball.
The latter fanned Nick Castellanos with the sacks full in the first, stranded runners on the corners in the second by striking out Torii Hunter, then induced an inning-ending grounder from Hunter with two on in the seventh.
Sanchez lowered his AL-best ERA to 2.50 thanks to his third straight win and seventh in the last 10 starts ... Garcia totaled a game-best three hits for Chicago ... Hunter and Infante each collected two hits for the Tigers ...Detroit has taken 10 of 16 from the White Sox this season, with one more series scheduled between the clubs, at Comerica Park, from Sept. 20-22.