The Tigers broke through in the top of the sixth and the Red Sox have still not recorded a hit through six innings, giving Detroit a 1-0 over Boston heading into the top of the seventh.
The Tigers made a pair of baserunning errors that cost them a run in the top of the fifth inning. Jhonny Peralta led off the inning with a double, but was picked off second base by Mike Napoli on an Omar Infante groundout.
The wasted opportunity did not faze Sanchez, who recorded his third straight perfect frame during the bottom half of the inning. The right-hander rung up Jacoby Ellsbury looking to end the inning, his 10th strikeout victim of the game.
Detroit scored the first run of the game in the top of the sixth. Miguel Cabrera started the rally with a one-out walk, then Lester plunked Prince Fielder to put a pair of runners on. Victor Martinez followed with a weak groundball to short, barely beating out the throw at first to avoid an inning-ending double play.
Peralta came through with two outs, lining a single to center field to drive in Cabrera and give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
Sanchez walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, including consecutive two-out walks to Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava. The starter escaped the jam by striking out Stephen Drew, his 12th strikeout of the game.