- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 2, 2016

DETROIT (AP) - The Tigers got a ton of offense Tuesday night - and that wasn’t even the most important part of their 11-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

The most encouraging aspect of Detroit’s seventh straight win was Anibal Sanchez’s performance.

Sanchez (5-12) allowed one run in six innings to win for the first time as a starter since April 28 - a span of 11 starts. He gave up six hits and three walks, and didn’t yield a homer. He came into the game having served up 18 home runs in 94 2/3 innings.

“This might be the best I’ve pitched all year,” said Sanchez, who lost his rotation spot in June but got it back due to injuries. “I felt really good with my command. That’s something that I’ve been looking for all year long.”

Sanchez was expected to move back to the bullpen after Jordan Zimmermann returns to the mound Thursday, but the Tigers placed Mike Pelfrey on the disabled list following Tuesday’s game with a lower-back strain. That means Sanchez will stay in the rotation for at least one more start.

“I was really impressed with the way he was able to pitch up in the zone again with his fastball,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “That’s what he was doing when he was successful.”

Miguel Cabrera hit his third home run in two games and Victor Martinez also went deep for Detroit. Andrew Romine and Cameron Maybin tripled in a six-run fifth.

The Tigers have scored 39 runs in the last four games.

“It’s really starting to be fun around here,” Maybin said. “We’re tough on any starting pitcher, and it is beginning to show.”

Avisail Garcia, who entered in the fifth inning, homered twice and Todd Frazier hit his 30th for Chicago.

“You hate coming into a game because of an injury, but I wanted to take the chance I got,” said Garcia, who began his career with the Tigers. “It felt great to hit those two balls hard.”

James Shields (3-6) held the Tigers scoreless for the first four innings, then got hit hard in the fifth. He had allowed only five runs in his previous four starts combined, and manager Robin Ventura thought a six-day layoff might have been the problem.

“He’s been great, but you know that starters like to keep in that rhythm when they are going good,” Ventura said. “The way our rotation worked out, he had that extended rest, and he just didn’t have it tonight.”

The White Sox broke a scoreless tie on Dioner Navarro’s RBI single in the fourth. Sanchez, though, retired Charlie Tilson with runners at the corners to end the inning.

Chicago put its first two batters on in the fifth, but Sanchez picked off Tyler Saladino and worked out of the jam. The Tigers took advantage in the bottom of the inning.

Romine, getting a rare start at third base in place of Nick Castellanos, led off with a triple and scored on Jose Iglesias’ sacrifice fly. Ian Kinsler singled and Maybin tripled into the left-field corner to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead. Cabrera’s double gave Detroit a two-run advantage, and Martinez followed with Detroit’s fourth extra-base hit of the inning, an RBI double.

Justin Upton singled, and after Shields finally got the second out, James McCann made it 6-1 with a two-run single.

Cabrera added a two-run homer in the sixth.

Garcia hit a two-run shot off Shane Greene in the seventh, but Kinsler had a two-run single to make it 10-3.

Frazier homered in the eighth to tie Baltimore slugger Mark Trumbo for the major league lead.

After Martinez connected in the Tigers eighth, Garcia hit one estimated at 465 feet off Mark Lowe.

“We’ve always known that Avi has the potential to hit balls like that, and it is great to see him start to do it,” Ventura said. “He’s a big kid, and he’s finally putting it all together.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

White Sox: Tilson, playing his first major league game, had to be helped off the field in the fifth after straining his left hamstring while chasing Cabrera’s double. His leg buckled under him, and Adam Eaton had to field the ball in right-center while Tilson was lying on the field. Ventura said after the game that Tilson was undergoing tests, with results expected Wednesday.

Tigers: Detroit got good news on all three of its injured players. LHP Daniel Norris (oblique) was activated from the disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Toledo, where he will prep as Detroit’s sixth starter. RF J.D. Martinez (elbow) will be activated for Wednesday’s game and Zimmermann (neck) will start on Thursday.

PERFECT AT THE PLATE

Tilson singled in his first career at-bat, a grounder up the middle in the third inning. It was the second time in two games that a visiting player got his first hit at Comerica Park. Houston’s Alex Bregman did it on Sunday. Both times, Cabrera presented the player with the ball at first base and offered a congratulatory pat on the back.

UP NEXT

The teams play the second in a three-game series Wednesday night, with Chicago ace Chris Sale (14-4, 3.17 ERA) facing Detroit rookie Michael Fulmer (9-2, 2.50) in a matchup of two of the American League’s best starters. The last time Sale was scheduled to face the Tigers, he was scratched and suspended after shredding throwback uniforms.

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