Sanchez set a team record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game, and he had a mathematical chance of tying the major league mark of 20 when he was pulled after eight innings and 121 pitches. Sanchez (3-1) took off his hat as he was leaving the field following the top of the eighth, acknowledging a huge ovation at Comerica Park after he struck out Dan Uggla, his final hitter.
Paul Maholm (3-2) allowed eight runs in 3 2/3 innings after giving up only three in his first four starts.
Detroit’s Matt Tuiasosopo homered and drove in a career-high five runs.
Sanchez allowed five hits and one walk.
Comerica is no stranger to high strikeout totals — but not even Justin Verlander or Max Scherzer has had a game like this for the Tigers. Sanchez kept the Braves off balance all night, striking out at least two hitters in every inning except the fourth.
Several of his strikeouts came when he got Atlanta hitters to chase balls down around the dirt. He got Uggla four times and Freddie Freeman and Juan Francisco three times each.
Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter had three hits each for the Tigers.
Tuiasosopo entered the game with 16 RBIs in a major league career that began with Seattle in 2008. He was a somewhat surprising addition to Detroit’s roster out of spring training, but he’s hit well in limited action with the Tigers.
After RBI singles by Hunter and Martinez in the third, Tuiasosopo hit a bases-loaded single to drive in two runs and make it 4-0.
Detroit scored six runs the following inning. Cabrera hit a run-scoring single, and another run came home on Prince Fielder’s groundout. An RBI double by Martinez made it 7-0 and chased Maholm, and after Jhonny Peralta’s walk, Tuiasosopo hit a drive over the left-field fence for his first homer since 2010.
After that, it was just a question of how many hitters Sanchez could strike out. He’d already fanned 14 at the start of the eighth, matching Yu Darvish of Texas for the highest single-game total in the majors this season.
Then he left that mark behind, fanning Francisco and Reed Johnson to start the inning. After Andrelton Simmons singled, Uggla struck out.
NOTES: Sanchez lowered his ERA to 1.34. Maholm’s went up from 1.03 to 3.30. ... Cabrera extended his hitting to 10 games. ... Detroit’s Rick Porcello (0-2) faces Atlanta’s Kris Medlen (1-2) today.