Joe Mauer lined a 1-1 pitch over the head of Sanchez into centerfield for Minnesota's lone hit of the game, depriving Sanchez of what would have been the 280th no-hitter in baseball history.
Sanchez (5-4) walked three and struck out 12 while throwing 130 pitches. His near gem came one start after he had given up six runs on nine hits in just 2 2/3 innings of a loss to Texas last Saturday.
It was the eighth complete game for Sanchez in a nine-year career and it brought the Tigers their fourth straight victory. The Twins suffered their 10th consecutive loss.
Sanchez walked the first batter he faced in the game, putting Jamey Carroll on base with five pitches. Chris Parmelee also walked with one out in the Minnesota second and Sanchez then retired 18 batters in a row before walking Eduardo Escobar in the eighth.
Detroit's offense was highlighted by a two-run homer from Don Kelly in the third inning that gave the Tigers a 5-0 lead. Miguel Cabrera also singled in two runs in the second, giving him 57 RBI for the season.
Cabrera went into the game with 11 more RBI than any other player in the majors.