CHICAGO -- As he watched White Sox starting pitcher Jose Quintana throw up zero after zero each inning, Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez knew he needed to match that effort.
Sanchez stepped up. He put together one of his best outings of the year with the Tigers trying to hold on to their lead in the American League Central Division in the final weeks of the season, tossing 7 1/3 shutout innings in Detroit's 1-0 victory Wednesday night.
Second baseman Omar Infante provided the offense for Detroit, hitting a two-out RBI single in the eighth inning to break a scoreless game. It was all the offense the Tigers needed as Joaquin Benoit picked up his 18th save in as many chances with a perfect ninth.
Sanchez said he was happy to be part of a close win and praised Quintana's effort, noting he was impressed by the left hander.
"When I'm out there, I'm trying to keep the score close," Sanchez said. "I'm waiting for the time the team gives me run support and give me the lead. That happened today."
Infante's game-winning hit to left field just got past a diving Alexei Ramirez at shortstop, scoring Prince Fielder from second base to give the Tigers (84-62) the lead against reliever Matt Lindstrom (2-4). It came one inning after Detroit had Infante on third with one out but couldn't drive him in.
Chicago (58-87) forced Sanchez out of the game in the eighth after Jordan Danks (single) and Ramirez (walk) reached base. Relievers Jose Veras and Drew Smyly struck out Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn, respectively, to preserve the Tigers' lead. Sanchez (14-7) gave up five hits, walking four, and struck out 10 for his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the season. With the win, the Tigers extended their lead in the American League Central to 6 1/2 games over second-place Cleveland, despite going 4-5 on their road trip.
"He was really good, the entire game he was sharp," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of Sanchez. "I don't know if he was out of gas in that last inning or not. He said he was fine."
Quintana bounced back from a rough first inning, tossing seven shutout innings while allowing five hits and striking out six while walking just two batters. Despite the strong outing, Quintana picked up his major league-leading 17th no-decision as the White Sox failed to score.
Quintana needed 33 pitches to retire the Tigers in the first inning.
"I think looking at the first inning, it didn't look like it was going to end up like that," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Quintana. "Both of them pitched great. A lot of swings and misses for Sanchez. But both of them were in a little bit of trouble and battled out of it. Sanchez just pitched better."
Quintana struck out Austin Jackson to start the game, but the next three Detroit batters reached base. After Torri Hunter singled to center field, Quintana got ahead 0-1 in the count against Miguel Cabrera. Quintana then threw 10 consecutive balls to walk Cabrera and Prince Fielder, loading the bases with one out.
Victor Martinez popped out. On a full-count fastball, Quintana struck out Nick Castellanos to escape the bases-loaded situation.
Quintana settled down as the game progressed -- retiring nine of 10 batters he faced following Alex Avila's double in the second.
"It was a tough first inning but after that I tried to attack hitters and that's what I was able to do," Quintana said through a translator.
NOTES: Detroit Tigers SS Jhonny Peralta, serving a 50-game suspension, joined the team Wednesday and hopes to make his case to be on Detroit's playoff roster. Peralta, who is eligible to return Sept. 27 for the Tigers' final three regular season games, owns a .305 batting average with 11 home runs and 54 RBIs this season. Peralta had been working out in the Dominican Republic to stay in shape. "I'm here to help the team in whatever position I can be at," Peralta said. "It's good to be here and I'll try to enjoy the game." ... Despite a 12-11 record and 3.64 ERA -- a full point higher than last year's -- manager Jim Leyland believes 30-year-old RHP Justin Verlander will be OK. "I don't think he's nearly gotten to the point yet where he has to figure out another way to get guys out," Leyland said. "His stuff is still electric stuff." ... White Sox manager Robin Ventura plans to give INF Leury Garcia and Marcus Semien plenty of playing time in the final weeks of the season to help gauge their roles. Garcia started at second base and hit lead off while Semien started at third base in place of Conor Gillaspie, who committed three errors in Wednesday's game before getting replaced in the seventh inning.