Cleveland, OH – Anibal Sanchez took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and the Detroit Tigers defeated the Cleveland Indians, 5-3, in the second test of a three-game series.
Detroit still sits one game back of Chicago for the top spot in the AL Central as the White Sox also won on Saturday, a 5-3 triumph over Minnesota.
Sanchez (3-5) was seven outs away from the second no-hitter of his career after retiring the first two batters in the seventh. Carlos Santana, though, broke up the no-hit bid with a triple off the wall in center. Russ Canzler's RBI double to center field and Lonnie Chisenhall's run-scoring single up the middle chased Sanchez from the game.
"I started watching the scoreboard," Sanchez said of his no-hit bid. "I had a chance. Everything was working good today."
Sanchez struck out seven and did not issue a walk for the Tigers, who have won four in a row.
Alex Avila paced Detroit's offense with a 3-for-4 performance and two RBI. Miguel Cabrera added a solo homer and Austin Jackson drove in a run.
Cleveland starter Justin Masterson (11-14) allowed four runs -- two earned -- on six hits over 4 2/3 innings. He fanned eight and walked four.
"It's been a trying season, it's been tough," Masterson said. "I haven't done the job I'm supposed to do. That's what's gotten us to where we're at."
The Tigers scored a pair of runs in the first inning. Andy Dirks and Prince Fielder walked to put men on with two outs. Brennan Boesch reached first on third baseman Chisenhall's fielding error, which allowed a run to score. Avila followed with an RBI single to left.
Detroit tacked on another run in the fourth. Quintin Berry and Omar Infante hit back-to-back singles to put men on the corners. Jackson's sacrifice fly made it a 3-0 game.
Avila knocked in another run in the fifth. Boesch walked with one out and raced home on Avila's double to right.
Cabrera hit his 37th homer of the season in the seventh, making it a 5-0 game.
Sanchez's lone mistake heading into the seventh inning was a hit batsman in the fourth. He was charged with two runs on three hits in the seventh.
The Indians scored another run in the eighth. Joaqin Benoit put men on first and second with two outs. Asdrubal Cabrera hit an RBI single to right to make it 5-3.
Jose Valverde pitched a perfect ninth to pick up his 31st save of the season.
Cleveland leads the season series by a 9-8 margin ... Sanchez fired a no- hitter during his rookie season with the Marlins on September 6, 2006 versus Arizona.