Designated hitter Alex Sanchez, playing only his fourth game for Detroit, drove in three runs with a triple and a homer in Milwaukee.
Winner Dan Petry (4-1) allowed six hits in 8 1/3 innings, then Willie Hernandez got his fourth save as the Tigers regained first place in the AL East. Starter Danny Darwin (2-1), the loser, yielded one earned run on five hits.
Sanchez's game-winning homer came in the seventh after the Brewers' left fielder, Robin Yount, dropped Chet Lemon's fly ball after colliding with center fielder Rick Manning. "We were both calling for the ball," Yount said. "We just didn't hear each other."
Sanchez, the designated hitter, tied the game, 1-1, with a two-out triple in the second inning. Lemon was on that time, too, thanks to third baseman Paul Molitor's bad throw.
The Brewers got a run in the first inning when Yount doubled and Ted Simmons singled. They took a 2-1 lead in the sixth when Yount doubled and Cecil Cooper singled.
"I came to Detroit, a very good team, and I've already started a couple games," Sanchez said. "When they called me here I didn't think I would play. But it looks like I'm here to stay."
The Tigers got Sanchez for pitcher Roger Mason in a minor-league deal with San Francisco earlier this month and brought him up Monday from their AAA farm. He was the MVP in the Pacific Coast League last year. Apparently he has no position in the field; it is said that when playing right field in AA Nashville he once ducked a fly ball because "it would have hit me in the head."