Game One Hundred Eighteen – Cubs 8, Tigers 15
WP – Neftali Feliz (3-3) LP – Jon Lester (8-9) Save – None
The Tigers hit parade continued Wednesday night. Detroit scored seven runs off Jon Lester in 2 2/3 innings and knocked him out of the game. The Tigers just kept hitting and the Cubs could not keep up. Jon Lester and the bullpen allowed a season-worst 15 runs on a season-worst 21 hits and lost Wednesday night to the Tigers.
The Tigers completed the two-game sweep at Wrigley and won the season-series (3-1) after hitting the ball all around Wrigley for the second night in a row. The Tigers scored 25 runs in two games on 40 hits and 19 went for extra bases. The best thing for the Cubs after the last two games is that the Tigers had to leave town.
Jon Lester gave his critics more fuel for their fire. Lester has struggled with the Tigers throughout his career and that continued Wednesday. Lester was tattooed for seven runs on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings. Lester served up three home runs … a solo homer and a grand slam to Nick Castellanos and a two-run homer to pitcher Daniel Norris in his first professional at bat.
Clayton Richard did an excellent job of keeping the Tigers off the scoreboard in relief of Lester. Richard allowed one run on five hits in 3 1/3 innings. Richard struck out four and did not walk a batter. After Richard left, the game went from bad to just plain ugly. Jason Motte was touched up for two runs on three hits in his inning of work. And James Russell was left in long enough to allow five more runs to score on six hits in 1 2/3 innings. Chris Denorfia was called on to record the last out in the ninth.
As was the case in game one, the offense could not keep up with the pitching staff. And for as lopsided as the final score was, the Cubs could not cash in opportunities to put runs on the board in the middle innings that could have tied the game. Anthony Rizzo (0-for-5 with six men left on base) and Jorge Soler (0-for-4 with a sac fly RBI and six men left on base) went a combined 0-for-9 on the night and seemingly hit with runners on base each time they stepped to the plate.
Dexter Fowler (3-for-5 with a double, a home run and two RBI) and Kris Bryant (4-for-4 with a home run, a triple, a walk, two RBI and two runs scored) put the Cubs on the board with home runs in the third inning. Kyle Schwarber (1-for-3 with a home run, two walks and two runs scored) had another good night at the plate and he went yard in the seventh. Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored) doubled and scored on a pinch-hit triple by Chris Coghlan (1-for-2 with a triple, a RBI and a run scored) in the sixth.
The Cubs scored eight runs on 11 hits with four walks. And that should have been more than enough offense to split the series with the Tigers.
With Wednesday’s loss, the Cubs slipped to 67-51 on the season.
Nick Castellanos led off the second inning with a line drive homer to right on a 1-0 pitch from Lester. James McCann followed with a single to right (0-1 pitch) as the Tigers continued to be aggressive against Lester. Jose Iglesias was caught looking at a 2-2 pitch for the first out. Anthony Gose tried to bunt his way on. Gose pushed the ball past the mound, but Rizzo picked it up and forced McCann at second for the second out.
Daniel Norris stepped in for the first at bat of his professional career (minors and Major League). Lester threw a 1-1 pitch right down main and Norris crushed the meatball. Daniel Norris hit a two-run homer into the shrubbery in straight away center. And a shocked Lester was down 3-0. Lester struck out Davis swinging to end the inning.
The Cubs went down 1-2-3 in the second. Norris made only 30 pitches, 21 for strikes, in two innings. At the end of two, the Tigers led 3-0.
Ian Kinsler started the third with a single to right (2-1 pitch). Lester walked Cabrera and Martinez to load the bases with no outs.
Nick Castellanos pulled Lester’s first pitch into the bleachers in left. Castellanos’ second home run of the night, a grand slam, gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead. McCann grounded out to short. But Jose Iglesias reached on an infield single to the hole at short. Lester continued to struggle but was able to retire Gose on a pop out to Russell for the second out. Lester walked Daniel Norris and Maddon went to his bullpen.
Clayton Richard replaced Lester and Rajai Davis loaded the bases with an infield single to the hole at short. Ian Kinsler flied out to right center to finally end the inning.
Clayton Richard led off the bottom of the third and rolled out to second. Addison Russell struck out swinging.
Dexter Fowler put the Cubs on the board. Fowler drove a 2-1 pitch into the bleachers in right … and Fowler’s two-out homer made it a 7-1 game. Kyle Schwarber walked.
Kris Bryant lifted a 0-1 pitch out to left. The ball carried into the basket and his two-run homer made it 7-3 Tigers. Rizzo reached on an error by Ian Kinsler before Soler struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Tigers had a 7-3 lead after three innings.
After Richard pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning, the Cubs wasted a chance to take a big dent out of the Tigers’ four run lead in the home half. Fowler singled to left with one out. Daniel Norris appeared to tweak his oblique on a 0-1 pitch to Schwarber (reports later in the game indicated Norris left with a right oblique injury).
Brad Ausmus and the Tigers’ trainers checked on Norris, who was in obvious pain and allowed him to throw a couple of warm pitches because he wanted to stay in the game. Norris was lifted and replaced by Tom Gorzelanny. Schwarber walked.
Kris Bryant walked to load the bases with one out. Rizzo popped a 2-2 pitch to Kinsler in shallow right for the second out. Brad Ausmus replaced Gorzelanny with Al Alburquerque. Jorge Soler popped a 2-2 pitch to Kinsler near the second base bag to end the inning.
The Tigers led 7-3 after five innings.
Clayton Richard stayed in for the sixth and simply started running out of gas. Rajai Davis led off with a homer to right … 8-3 Tigers. Kinsler struck out swinging. Miguel Cabrera ripped a single into right and moved to second on a single to center by Martinez. Castellanos actually made an out, the Tigers’ third baseman lined out to Soler for the second out. McCann ended the inning with another lineout to right. Richard gave up a lot of hard contact in the sixth, but only one run.
Starlin Castro led off the sixth with a double to left off Alburquerque. Chris Coghlan hit for David Ross and pulled a 0-2 pitch to deep right center. Castro scored and made it an 8-4 game as Coghlan slid in a third with a triple. Miguel Montero batted for Richard and walked. Addison Russell grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Coghlan scored, 8-5 Tigers. Fowler lined out to center to end the inning.
After six complete, the Tigers had an 8-5 lead.
Jason Motte started the seventh and struggled again. Iglesias reached on a bloop single to right. Gose singled to right and Tyler Collins bunted both runners up 90 feet. Motte hit Rajai Davis to load the base with one out.
Ian Kinsler hit a routine fly to center. Iglesias tagged and scored, 9-5 Tigers. Miguel Cabrera ripped Motte’s first pitch into center. Gose scored, 10-5 Tigers. The inning finally came to an end when Martinez struck out swinging.
It was Drew VerHagen’s turn out of the Tigers’ pen in the seventh. Kyle Schwarber greeted him with a long homer to center … 10-6 Tigers. Bryant followed with a single to right and Rizzo reached on an error by Ian Kinsler. But Soler grounded into a 6-4-3 double play and Castro rolled out to the hole at short to end the inning.
The Tigers led 10-6 after seven innings.
The hit parade continued against James Russell in the eighth inning. Nick Castellanos started the inning with a double to left. Andrew Romine ran for Castellanos at second. Russell struck out McCann. Romine stole third on the first pitch to Iglesias. With the infield in, Russell struck out Iglesias swinging for the second out. The light-hitting, left-handed Anthony Gose tripled to right. Romine scored easily, 11-6 Tigers. Collins blooped a double to left, Gose scored, 12-6 Tigers. Victor Martinez ran up to the plate and smacked a double to left. Collins scored, 13-6 Tigers. Kinsler lined out to Soler for the third out.
The Cubs scored a run in the eighth against Neftali Feliz. Jonathan Herrera doubled to left with two outs off Matt Boyd. Brad Ausmus made another pitching change and went to his pen for Feliz. Dexter Fowler reached second with a double after left fielder Tyler Collins showed little interest in catching the baseball. Herrera scored, 13-7 Tigers. Miguel Cabrera made a diving stop toward the hole at second and took away a hit from Kyle Schwarber to end the inning.
The game went to the ninth with the Cubs down 13-7.
James Russell was hit rather hard in the ninth. Cabrera doubled and J.D. Martinez homered … 15-7 Tigers. Romine tapped back to the mound and McCann lined out center. Maddon brought in Chris Denorfia for the final out. Iglesias grounded out to second to end the inning.
Kris Bryant tripled off Feliz to start the ninth. After Rizzo popped out to Romine at third, Soler flied out to center. Bryant tagged and scored, 15-8 Tigers. Chris Denorfia hit for himself and struck out swinging to end the game.
The Braves make the annual trip to Wrigley and open a four-game series on Thursday night (7:05pm CDT). Jake Arrieta is scheduled to face Mike Foltynewicz.