Game Fifty-Six – Cubs 0, Tigers 6
WP – Anibal Sanchez (4-7) LP – Jon Lester (4-5) Save – None
Jon Lester did not make it through the fifth inning as his struggles with the Tigers and Comerica Park continued Tuesday night. And Anibal Sanchez was allowed to put together the best start of his season as the Cubs were shut out in the Motor City.
For the second time in as many starts on the current road trip, Jon Lester had a really bad outing. The Tigers had several balls bounce their way while squaring up just about every pitch Lester threw in the zone. And Lester’s line would have looked worse if the Tigers didn’t make two outs on the bases. Nine of the last 11 batters Lester faced Tuesday night reached base.
If Jon Lester is not hurt, he has a lot of adjustments to make over the next four days because he has not looked like the same pitcher these last two starts that he was in the seven outings leading up to last Wednesday in Miami.
Jon Lester turned the game over to Edwin Jackson with the bases loaded, one out in the fifth and the Cubs down by a score of 4-0. Jackson allowed an inherited runner to score before picking up the last two outs in the fifth and closing the book on Lester.
Jon Lester was charged with five runs on nine hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Thanks to a 31-pitch fourth inning, Lester made 93 pitches, 54 for strikes, in 4 1/3 innings.
Edwin Jackson did his job Tuesday night, nothing more and nothing less. Jackson pitched the rest of the game in relief of Lester and allowed a run to score in the sixth. Jackson kept Joe Maddon from using another reliever. Jackson was charged with one run on four hits with no walks and five strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.
The game really changed on one play. Rajai Davis robbed David Ross of a two-run homer to end the second inning with a leaping catch at the wall in left center. Instead of the Cubs taking a 2-1 lead and putting doubt in Anibal Sanchez’s head, he was able to leave the mound with a lead and just pounded the strike zone the rest of the night.
The Cubs had only a couple of scoring opportunities. Yoenis Cespedes threw out Junior Lake (1-for-3 with a stolen base) at the plate to end the fifth inning and Miguel Montero (0-for-4) struck out swinging with the bases loaded in the eighth. Two of the Cubs eight hits on the night came in the ninth inning.
Kris Bryant (1-for-3 with a walk), Starlin Castro (2-for-4), Dexter Fowler (1-for-4), Addison Russell (1-for-4), Chris Denorfia (1-for-4) and Chris Coghlan (1-for-1) all collected hits in Tuesday night’s loss.
Anthony Rizzo walked in the eighth inning, but his hit streak came to an end with a 0-for-3 night at the plate.
With Tuesday’s loss, the Cubs slipped to 30-26 on the season.
Kris Bryant singled with one out in the first and advanced to second on a balk by Anibal Sanchez. But Miguel Montero struck out swinging to end the inning. Sanchez threw 17 pitches in the first, 10 for strikes.
Rajai Davis led off the first with a double down the third baseline. A passed ball allowed Davis to take third base. Ian Kinsler hit a blooper to Addison Russell for the first out. Miguel Cabrera singled to center on a 2-0 pitch. Davis trotted in and the Tigers went up 1-0. Yoenis Cespedes grounded into 4-6 force out and J.D Martinez grounded out to third to end the inning.
Starlin Castro singled to left with one out in the second. After Lake flied out to right, David Ross was robbed of a two-run homer to left center on a leaping catch by Rajai Davis as he appeared to reach over the wall and bring the ball back.
Jon Lester struck out the side in order in the second … 30 pitches for Lester after two innings, 19 for strikes.
After two innings, the Cubs trailed 1-0.
The Cubs could not buy a hit, or a quality at bat against Anibal Sanchez. And the game went to the bottom of the fourth with the Cubs down 1-0.
The Tigers put the game out of reach in the fourth. Miguel Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes reached on back-to-back singles to start the inning. Martinez flied out to right (3-2 pitch). Cabrera and Cespedes tagged and advanced to second and third on the play.
Nick Castellanos singled to left, Cabrera and Cespedes scored. Castellanos was thrown out at second for the second out. James McCann followed with a double to right but Lester struck out Wilson to end the inning.
The Tigers led 3-0 after four innings. And Lester made 75 pitches, 47 for strikes, in four innings.
Junior Lake singled to center with one down in the fifth. Lake took off for second with Ross at the plate. David Ross struck out swinging. Lake appeared to swipe the bag. Brad Ausmus asked the umps to take another look because it appeared Lake came off the bag for just long enough to be out. After further review, the call stood and Lake stayed at second with two outs.
Addison Russell singled to left. For one of the few times, Gary Jones made a mistake. Jones waived Lake around and Yoenis Cespedes threw him out by 10 feet to end the inning.
A bad night turned ugly for the Cubs and Jon Lester in the fifth inning.
Jose Iglesias led off the fifth with a single to right (0-2 pitch). Iglesias tried to swipe second and Addison Russell picked a bad throw from Ross and tagged him out. Rajai Davis tripled to left center. Ian Kinsler blooped a double to right. Davis trotted in, 4-0 Tigers.
Jon Lester then issued back-to-back four-pitch walks to Cabrera and Cespedes.
With Lester done for the night, Joe Maddon went to his pen and brought in Edwin Jackson with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth.
J.D. Martinez singled to left, Kinsler scored and the Tigers went up 5-0. Jackson struck out Castellanos swinging and McCann lined out to Russell to finally end the inning.
The Tigers led 5-0 after five innings.
It was another 1-2-3 inning for Sanchez in the sixth and the Tigers added another run in the bottom of the sixth.
Josh Wilson led off with a double to left. After Jackson struck out Iglesias swinging, Davis grounded out to first base. Wilson advanced to third and scored on an infield single to the hole at second by Ian Kinsler, 6-0 Tigers. Cabrera reached on an infield single when he grounded a ball back up the middle that Russell fielded and flipped to Castro at second base. Castro did not step on the base then threw late to first base. With runners on first and second with two down, Cespedes grounded out to Castro to end the inning.
The Tigers led 6-0 after six innings.
And that was the final score. The Cubs were not able to push across any runs despite loading the bases in the eighth inning and putting two on with one out in the ninth.
Edwin Jackson did not allow any more runs after the sixth inning.
Jake Arrieta and Shane Greene square off in the series finale on Tuesday night (6:08pm CDT) in Detroit.