Sanchez (1-0) overcame six walks while Al Alburquerque, Jose Veras and Drew Smyly combined to hold the Bosox without a hit over the next three innings as the Tigers flirted with the first combined, post-season no-hitter in major league history.
Closer Joaquin Beniot finally surrendered a one-out bloop single to Daniel Nava in the ninth, but went on to complete the save as Detroit grabbed the early advantage in the best-of-seven ALCS.
Red Sox starter Jon Lester (0-1) yielded just the one run on six hits over 6 1/3 innings.
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