On a day when Jim Leyland worried his bullpen might get overstressed, Anibal Sanchez fought through seven innings to give the relievers a break. The Tigers didn't have Octavio Dotel, Drew Smyly or Joaquin Benoit available Sunday.

Dotel was recovering from a sore elbow -- Leyland said he was better Sunday. Smyly pitched two innings Friday, and Benoit threw 35 high-stress pitches Saturday as the closer.

Partly due to minor injuries and illness (Phil Coke missed Friday with a stomach bug), and partly due to an inability to make more key pitches, Leyland has been forced to scramble several times this season with his bullpen.

Sanchez was the first pitcher over the weekend to make it through seven -- Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander each pitched six innings.

Without a true closer -- and thus, a steady setup man -- Leyland said it will take time to organize the bullpen.

"We just got to get it in sync," Leyland said. "It's not in sync. We will get some sense of order here before long."

The good news, Leyland said, at least from the perspective of his pitchers, is that players are getting a chance to show what they can do.

"They are all getting to pitch," he said. "(Let's) see if they can get some outs."

Leyland said the team knew this would be the case coming out of spring training.

If the starters can consistently pitch seven innings -- or beyond -- this will help the organization as well.

"Hopefully (the starters) will continue to take us a little bit deeper," he said.