The Detroit Tigers beat the Chicago Cubs 10-8 on Tuesday evening -- nay, Wednesday morning -- but Mother Nature may have been the real winner. A two-hour rain delay in the third inning was the story of the night in a game that did not resume until after 11:30 p.m. Eastern time.
Before the rain came, the Tigers offense provided some thunder of its own. They scored three runs in the first inning courtesy of two home runs. Ian Kinsler hit a fly ball into the infamous Wrigley winds that landed just out of reach of left fielder Kyle Schwarber in the bleachers to put the Tigers up 1-0. After Miguel Cabrera nearly doubled the lead on the next pitch -- the play was ruled fan interference and Cabrera was given a double -- J.D. Martinez hit a mammoth home run to center to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
Naturally, Anibal Sanchez was also bitten by the homer bug. After Schwarber walked with one out in the bottom of the first, Chris Coghlan hit another wind-aided home run to left field to cut the Tigers lead to 3-2. That would be short-lived, however, as Anthony Gose lined another home run to left to extend the score to 5-2 in the top of the second.
The skies opened up in the bottom of the third with the Cubs threatening. A two hour, 17 minute rain delay ensued, knocking both starters out of the game. Sanchez left while facing Schwarber with a 1-2 count, but reliever Tom Gorzelanny struck him out with the first pitch he threw when play resumed.
The Tigers added a run in the top of the fourth, but then saw their bats go silent for a few innings. The Cubs took advantage, tying the game with a pair of timely hits. Schwarber hit a two-out, three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth off reliever Buck Farmer, who failed to get out of the inning. His replacement, Blaine Hardy, got into trouble in the seventh, and allowed a game-tying RBI single to Anthony Rizzo with two outs.
Detroit struck back in the eighth, scoring three runs off former Baltimore Orioles reliever Tommy Hunter. J.D. Martinez hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded and no outs to give the Tigers the lead, and then Nick Castellanos came through with a two-run single to extend the lead to 9-6. After a 1-2-3 inning from reliever Alex Wilson in the eighth, the Tigers manufactured an insurance run in the ninth.
Despite a four-run lead, Brad Ausmus turned to his closer in the ninth inning, and things got a little hairy. Bruce Rondon walked a pair of batters, then allowed a run on an RBI groundout from Rizzo. Chris Coghlan scored the Cubs' eighth run on an odd equipment snafu by catcher James McCann, but Rondon struck out Kris Bryant to end the wild affair.
The offense: No blame to be tossed around in this one. The only Tigers position player to not reach base was Rajai Davis, who pinch-hit in the ninth inning. The Tigers racked up 10 runs on 19 hits, enough to out-run their bullpen.
Ian Kinsler: The Tigers' second baseman deserves special mention for a five-hit game, the third of his career and first with the Tigers.
Buck Farmer: He allowed a rather costly three-run home run while on the mound, but the 24-year-old collected his first MLB hit in his first professional plate appearance in the top of the fifth.
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