Key outs, 18 hits and a big Tigers series win

Detroit Tigers

DETROIT — Joe Jiménez’s first appearance in the sixth inning since 2017 resulted in his first win since last September, thanks to a Tigers outburst off the Cubs’ bullpen. Cameron Maybin’s double off the right-field wall and Niko Goodrum’s two-run double fueled a go-ahead five-run sixth inning before the retinkered

DETROIT — Joe Jiménez’s first appearance in the sixth inning since 2017 resulted in his first win since last September, thanks to a Tigers outburst off the Cubs’ bullpen. Cameron Maybin’s double off the right-field wall and Niko Goodrum’s two-run double fueled a go-ahead five-run sixth inning before the retinkered Tigers bullpen held off a ninth-inning rally against Buck Farmer for a 7-6 win in the rubber match of the three-game series at Comerica Park on Wednesday night.

Box score

The Tigers’ first home series win since May 3-5, 2019 — and their second straight series victory over a team with a winning record this season — moved Detroit (13-16) to within three games of .500 as their season nears its halfway point. The way manager Ron Gardenhire reshuffled his young bullpen to finish off the game creates some intrigue going into the second half.

The Cubs carried a 2-1 lead into the sixth inning as starter Jon Lester held the Tigers to 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. The piggyback duo of Michael Fulmer and Daniel Norris held Chicago to an Anthony Rizzo RBI single and Javier Báez sacrifice fly, both off Fulmer in the third.

With the middle of the Cubs due up in the sixth, Gardenhire went to Jiménez, who has been Detroit’s closer since last August but has struggled this season. Gardenhire said last week he wanted to get more work for Jiménez, who made just three appearances over the previous two weeks amidst a nine-game losing streak.

Kyle Schwarber stretched the Cubs’ lead with an opposite-field solo homer but Jiménez stranded a runner at second to keep the Tigers within 3-1. Detroit batted around in the bottom of the frame, starting with back-to-back doubles from Maybin and Austin Romine off part-time Cubs closer Rowan Wick. Jonathan Schoop, Miguel Cabrera and Jeimer Candelario hit consecutive two-out singles for two more runs off Ryan Tepera before Goodrum’s two-run double broke the game open.

Candelario’s final run scored in that five-run rally turned out to be the difference in the game once the Cubs put up three ninth-inning runs off Buck Farmer. Victor Reyes crashed into the center-field wall to catch Anthony Rizzo’s drive, turning a potential game-tying hit into a sacrifice fly.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck’s Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.

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