The Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs swapped leads multiple times, and the teams needed extra innings to conclude Saturday’s contest at Comerica Park that featured 17 runs, 25 hits, 10 walks and 14 pitchers.
The final blow came from the Tigers in the bottom of the 10th inning. (In extras, a runner starts the inning on second base.) After the Cubs took a one-run lead, Nomar Mazara singled up the middle to even the score with one out against Chicago closer Craig Kimbrel. Pinch-runner JaCoby Jones stole second base and scored on Harold Castro’s two-out walk-off single to left field.
The Tigers (14-25) returned to the win column with a 9-8 victory. They scored their nine runs on 14 hits and seven walks, with 14 strikeouts. Detroit used six pitchers, while the Cubs sent eight to the mound.
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Both starting pitchers departed earlier than expected. Tigers right-hander Jose Urena left after allowing four earned runs across 2⅔ innings. Cubs righty Trevor Williams gave way to the bullpen after three earned runs across two innings.
Third baseman Jeimer Candelario left the game in the sixth inning with a left knee contusion. He was hit by Dan Winkler’s 91.3 mph cutter. Later in the sixth, Harold Castro struck out swinging to strand two runners in scoring position.
In the seventh, the Tigers loaded the bases for Niko Goodrum, who replaced Candelario. But Goodrum struck out looking. Yet Miguel Cabrera delivered a two-out, two-strike infield single to tie the game at seven.
The three-game series concludes at 1:10 p.m. Sunday. Left-hander Matthew Boyd is starting, opposed by righty Kyle Hendricks. Up next, the Tigers travel to Seattle for the contests against the Mariners from Monday through Wednesday.
Jose Urena exits early
With two outs in the third inning, Tigers manager AJ Hinch went to get Urena. He brought in Daniel Norris out of the bullpen, and he struck out Ian Happ to strand Urena’s runner on second base.
Urena threw 48 pitches (31 strikes), but he had an injury scare in the second inning. Jason Heyward sent a ball with a 109.1 mph exit velocity off what appeared to be Urena’s right leg. He fell down near the first-base line as Cabrera made the out.
Although Urena stayed in the game, after getting checked on by Hinch and athletic trainer Doug Teter, the Tigers kept a close eye on him the rest of the way. He finished a perfect second inning on nine pitches — by far his best inning.
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The Cubs did their damage in the first and third inning. Urena allowed four runs on five hits and one walk, with one strikeout.
In the first, Joc Pederson opened with a triple and Kris Bryant took a four-pitch walk. After Urena’s lone strikeout — sending down Javier Baez swinging with a 2-2 slider — the Cubs put two runs on the board with Anthony Rizzo’s two RBI double to left field.
Chicago tacked on two more runs in the third inning, as a single and double from Bryant and Baez, respectively, set up Rizzo and Duffy to collect RBIs. Rizzo pushed home Bryant with a grounder to second base, and Duffy doubled to left field. His extra-base hit ended Urena’s outing.
Urena used 20 sinkers, 15 sliders, eight four-seam fastballs and five changeups. He only got two swings, each coming from his slider, and misses on 20 swings. The severity of his injury is unknown.
Grossman leads Tigers
Robbie Grossman started the first inning with a double to right field, setting up a three-run frame. Candelario took a four-pitch walk, and despite Cabrera’s strikeout, the Tigers kept the offense rolling.
Mazara doubled to left field, Jonathan Schoop singled and Harold Castro also plated a run with a force out. Just like that, the Tigers controlled a 3-2 lead against Williams.
This type of production to boost the offense is nothing new for Grossman.
In his last six games, he is 11-for-24 with two doubles, two triples, two home runs, eight RBIs, three walks and three strikeouts. In Friday’s clash with the Cubs, he launched a 442-foot home run.
On Saturday, Grossman finished 2-for-4 with two walks. He drew his first walk in the second inning and advanced to third base on Candelario’s two-out single. Then, he singled in the fourth inning to load the bases. (Willi Castro then scored on a wild pitch from reliever Alec Mills to tie the game at four.)
The Tigers took a 5-4 lead on Cabrera’s grounder to third base. Nomar Mazara — facing new reliever Justin Steele — walked to keep the fourth inning alive with two outs, and Schoop doubled home Grossman for a 6-4 lead.
A lot of good from bullpen
The Tigers went to five relievers after Urena’s exit: Norris, Alex Lange, Tyler Alexander, Jose Cisnero and Fulmer. Hinch called on Fulmer for the ninth inning, with Pederson, Bryant and Baez due up. He only needed 10 pitches to retire them in order, sending down Baez swinging with a 98.6 mph sinker.
Following Urena, Norris tossed 1⅓ scoreless innings. Lange got beat up in the fifth inning, as Duffey launched a three-run homer — his first blast this season — for a 7-6 lead. He eventually worked out of the inning, and Alexander guided the Tigers through the sixth and seventh frames unscathed.
Alexander tossed two strikeouts. His only blemish was a walk. Cisnero picked up where Alexander left off by logging two strikeouts in the eighth inning. Despite a walk, his slider struck out Tony Wolters swinging in a full count to keep the Cubs from scoring.
Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.