DETROIT — Jonathan Schoop’s sixth-inning grand slam broke open a pitchers’ duel that Spencer Turnbull maintained through 5 2/3 scoreless innings, sending the Tigers to a 7-1 win over the Cubs on Tuesday night at Comerica Park.
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The last time Schoop hit a grand slam, he was
The last time Schoop hit a grand slam, he was with the Brewers in the middle of a playoff chase, and he connected on a pitch from then-Giant Madison Bumgarner. Tuesday’s circumstances were different, but Schoop’s fourth career grand slam helped even the series and all but sealed Turnbull’s third win in six starts this season, matching his win total from 30 starts last year.
Schoop’s seventh home run of the season also extended his team lead. Just under halfway through the Tigers’ shortened schedule, Schoop is nearly halfway to Brandon Dixon’s team-high total of 15 homers last year.
Five days after Turnbull threw 60 pitches over two ineffective innings, he was in control for much of the evening, needing just 25 pitches over his first two innings. He reached just four three-ball counts over his first four innings, two to Javier Báez after his two-homer game in Monday’s series opener.
Báez was a pitch away from loading the bases with two outs in the third, having worked out of an 0-2 hole to run the count full. Turnbull couldn’t get Báez to chase a 98 mph sinker on a 2-2 pitch, but he came back with a 97 mph sinker on the inner half of the plate, which Báez flew out to right field to end the threat.
Turnbull seemed to tire in the middle innings, walking three of his final eight batters. But Bryan Garcia struck out Victor Caratini on three pitches to end the sixth with a 2-0 lead.
The Tigers at that point were still protecting a lead built off a two-run, 37-pitch inning against Cubs starter Tyler Chatwood. Detroit broke it open with a five-run sixth, capped by Schoop’s 400-foot drive to left off Casey Sadler.