EditorsNote: adds info in fifth graf; fixes “pinch hitter” in next-to-last graf
Javier Baez hit a three-run homer, David Bote supplied a two-run shot, and the Chicago Cubs broke out of an offensive rut while thumping the host Detroit Tigers 8-2 on Wednesday night.
Baez’s long ball highlighted a four-run ninth. Bote’s fourth homer sparked a three-run fifth, ending a five-game stretch in which the Cubs scored a single run each time.
Anthony Rizzo also homered while Daniel Murphy, acquired from Washington on Tuesday, had two hits, a run and an RBI in his Cubs debut.
Jon Lester (14-5) gave up one run on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings to collect the win.
Francisco Liriano (3-9) allowed four runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings while taking the loss. Liriano hasn’t won a game since April 28, going 0-8 with a 5.40 ERA over 16 games (15 starts) in that span.
The Tigers took the lead in the second inning. Victor Martinez singled, and Mikie Mahtook walked. One out later, Ronny Rodriguez singled to left to bring in Martinez.
The Cubs broke through against Liriano in the fifth. Albert Almora Jr. singled, and Bote followed with his blast to left field. A walk to Willson Contreras and singles by Ian Happ and Murphy led to the third run in the inning.
Chicago made it 4-1 in the sixth. Ben Zobrist led off with a double and advanced to third on a groundout. Following an Almora strikeout, Bote walked to put runners on the corners. Contreras then reached on an infield single against Buck Farmer to deliver Zobrist.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon used three relievers to get through the eighth. Detroit pushed across a run, but it was mostly a wasted opportunity. The bases were loaded with one out after Niko Goodrum reached on an error facing Justin Wilson, who had relieved Carl Edwards Jr.
Pedro Strop relieved Wilson and retired Martinez on a short flyout before walking pinch hitter Jim Adduci, forcing in a run. Strop then set down James McCann on a groundout.
Baez’s three-run homer in the ninth off Victor Alcantara came just after he fouled a ball off his leg. Baez’s 26th homer landed in the bullpen beyond the left field wall. Rizzo made it back-to-back long balls with an opposite-field shot, his 20th homer of the year.
—Field Level Media