The Detroit Tigers offense put on a clinic today against the Chicago Cubs. Nick Castellanos led the charge with two home runs and two doubles while starter Daniel Norris put up a homer of his own. Despite losing Norris to an injury, the Tigers won 15-8 over the Cubs to take the two-game series in Chicago.
It didn't seem like the Tigers would fare well against Jon Lester on the mound, who'd had some very strong outings his last few starts. However, that all changed in the top of the second inning. After a Nick Castellanos solo home run, the Tigers starting pitcher Daniel Norris came up to bat with a man on second. He promptly launched a fastball from Lester over the center field fence. Afterwards, in the top of the third inning, Castellanos came up to bat with the bases loaded, and hit his second career grand slam to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead in the third. Lester would continue to pitch that inning, but after walking Norris on four pitches, that would be it for Lester's night.
However, things would turn south for Norris later in the game. With only two outs left in the fifth, Norris came up grimacing after a pitch to Kyle Schwarber. James McCann came out immediately to check on his pitcher, and was followed quickly by the Tigers' training staff. After a couple of practice throws it was clear something was wrong, and Norris was taken out immediately. It was later revealed that he suffered a right oblique strain.
Luckily for the Tigers, their offense didn't miss a beat. They would need the offensive production because the bullpen had several struggles. In the four innings after Norris left the game, Al Alburquerque, Tom Gorzelanny, and Drew VerHagen each loaded the bases. Thankfully, they got some pitches to go their way, as they turned big double plays each time to help them limit the damage. However each time the bullpen gave up runs, the bats came back and answered. By the end of the game, the Tigers had 21 hits, including five home runs, with 11 Tigers getting a hit. This helped the Tigers get the short series sweep against the Cubs, and keeps them in the Wild Card race.
Nick Castellanos: Castellanos had a real showing of power today. Not only did he hit a solo home run in the top of the second inning, but he also hit his second career grand slam in the third and put the Tigers up 7-0. Then in the top of the fourth, he hit a two-out double. He finished the game with a double in the top of the eighth.
Batting Daniel Norris: In Norris's first career at bat since HIGH SCHOOL, Daniel Norris hit a two-run home run to put the Tigers up 3-0.
Rajai Davis: In the top of the fifth, Davis hit a opposite field solo home run, helping extend the Tigers lead to five runs.
The rest of the Tigers offense: The offense was a live and well today. This was another game where the Tigers offense generated more than 10 runs in a game.
The Tigers Bullpen...kinda: Although the Tigers' offense gave them an early lead, the bullpen seemed desperate to blow it. Every time the Tigers scored, the bullpen seemed to give up another run. However, there were also moments where different pitchers loaded the bases, and then got out of the innings with limited damage.
Ian Kinsler: Kinsler had two errors during the game. The second one was big because it could have potentially been a double play. And lets be honest, it's not fun to watch players make erros.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- This was Nick Castellanos' second career grand slam. This was also his first career multi home run game and had a career high five RBI. He also went 4-for-5 with two doubles.
- Castellanos is the first Tiger to have four extra base hits in a game since Ivan Rodriguez on April 5, 2006.
- Daniel Norris was the first AL pitcher to hit a home run at Wrigley Field.
- The Tigers had 19+ hits in consecutive games for the first time since 1935.
- The Tigers hit a season high 21 hits. Its the most since August 10, 2014 against Toronto.
- 11 different Tigers had at least one hit in tonight's game, most in a single game since September 16, 2006 against Baltimore, when 12 players had at least one hit.
- This is the first time since 2012 that Jon Lester only lasted two nnings.
- Anthony Gose' single in the seventh extended his streak of reaching base safely to 13 straight games, which is the longest single-season streak of his career.
- Andrew Romine had his seventh steal of the season.
Daniel Norris: first HR ever by an American League pitcher at Wrigley Field— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) August 20, 2015
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