Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 9/25/12
DETROIT You just never know how a player will react when the pressure is on, when the stakes are highest if they've never been there. The Tigers found something out about Anibal Sanchez (4-6) Tuesday night. They already knew that the Chicago White Sox (82-72) had lost to the Cleveland Indians earlier in the day and that they had a chance to tie them for first place in the Central Division. All they needed was to beat the always-game-in-August-and-September Kansas City Royals. They also knew that Sanchez had pitched a no-hitter in his career. What they didn't know was whether Sanchez was ready for playoff baseball. After Sanchez threw a complete-game, 2-0 shutout while striking out 10 Royals, the Tigers (82-72) have their answer: Sanchez is up for the challenge. "You don't throw a no-hitter in the big leagues without good stuff," catcher Gerald Laird said. "He's been a winning pitcher, he's won tons of games in the big leagues, he's been a big success for the Florida Marlins. We knew what we were getting when we got him over here. This is what we thought we were getting. I'm just glad he's starting to hit his stride right now." Royals manager Ned Yost was impressed with Sanchez's performance. "We looked up and he had only thrown five balls in three innings," Yost said. "We made a bunch of one-pitch outs in the second time through the order, but we couldn't center anything. He was too tough." According to ESPN Stats & Info, Sanchez is the third pitcher since 1969 to put his team in first place with a 10-strikeout shutout on Sept. 1 or later. The others were Steve Carlton in 1982 and Scott McGregor in 1981, before Sanchez was born. While the Tigers haven't made the playoffs yet, as they've been chasing the White Sox down the stretch, Sanchez knew these games were as meaningful as playoff games. Thanks to Sanchez's heroics, the Tigers and White Sox are now tied in the division with eight games to go in the regular season. "I came out strong, every pitch, and like I say, try to be aggressive all the time," Sanchez said. "I dont want to miss, I dont want to like (be) leaving any pitch for the hitter. I dont want to give any chance, and especially (Tuesday). "It an important game, and we are at the end of season, were really close with the race in the AL Central, so Im going to keep working hard." Like many of the Tigers, Sanchez tends to be more quiet and unassuming. If you didn't know him, you might not realize how competitive he is. That fire showed in the sixth inning when Alcides Escobar and Alex Gordon reached via base hit and walk, respectively, bringing up Billy Butler with two out and the Tigers only leading, 2-0. Sanchez threw his curveball, slider, sinker and finally another slider, getting Butler to strike out to end the inning. Sanchez reacted by pumping his fist. "Yeah, I know, because that guy is pretty good hitter," Sanchez said. "This guy hes with one shot can put the game ahead for them. That strike him out I think the key for the game." Laird said he had complete faith in Sanchez that he could get Butler in that situation, especially the way he was pitching Tuesday. "Butler's been a thorn in our side for a while," Laird said. "We got ahead of him and I figured if we could get a good breaking ball down in the dirt, we could get him to swing over the top of it. So I called and he went with it, and he executed it. "When you can get their best hitter out with men on base, if he hits a double right there, it may change the game." Pitching like this, Sanchez could be a game-changer for the Tigers if they make the playoffs. With Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Doug Fister all going strong, the Tigers could opt to make Sanchez the fourth starter and place Rick Porcello in the bullpen. "Its good, because I know the team is going to trust me when Im on the mound," Sanchez said. "Thats just my couple months with the team, and I just try to show my best so they trust me, especially when we make the playoff." In his last 10 starts, including Tuesday, Sanchez has a 3.62 ERA. He's walked only 11 while striking out 50 in 62 13 innings. Tuesday was Sanchez's first complete game of the season and the seventh of his career. It was also his fifth career shutout and fourth career game with 10 or more strikeouts. "It was just fun for me," Laird said. "It seemed like I was just putting fingers down and he was just making pitches. It just goes to show you how much command he's got. That 3-2 pitch in the ninth to (Alex) Gordon, he swung through it. You almost don't know what to look for when you face him. He's got that 95 mile-per-hour fastball, too. It was all about him. "He did a heck of a job and he knew what was at stake. He came out and performed."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Dale Earnhardt Jr. to retire after 2017 season

Watson warns teams against picking Mitchell over him

Bonds to have street named after him in San Francisco

Report: Blount, Giants have 'mutual interest'

Adrian Peterson confirms he will sign with Saints

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

The Warriors just trucked the Blazers with 8 threes, 45 points in the first quarter

Serena Williams fires back at Ilie Nastase’s racist comment about her child

Magic Johnson will represent the Lakers at NBA Draft Lottery

Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes suspended, fined for throwing at Manny Machado

Jerry Jones happy Tony Romo isn’t playing for another NFL team

George told teammates he has dreamed of playing for Lakers?

NBA Weekend Awards: Who takes home the Wilt Chamberlain Trophy?

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Where it went wrong: Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1 exits

20 of the best NFL Draft red carpet looks

Getaway Day: Wild, wacky and weird week in MLB (and that's just the injuries)

11 names you need to know for the NFL Draft

Most inspirational sports movies, series and docs available for streaming

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: David Fizdale and the Grizzlies won't go down quietly

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

The 'Even the Browns can't mess this one up' quiz

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NBA Weekend Awards: Who takes home the Wilt Chamberlain Trophy?

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Where it went wrong: Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1 exits

Getaway Day: Wild, wacky and weird week in MLB

11 names you need to know for the NFL Draft

Most inspirational sports movies, series and docs available for streaming

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

The 'Even the Browns can't mess this one up' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker