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Tigers 7, Cubs 6: Offense thrives as Detroit takes the series

Who had the Tigers taking back-to-back series against Cleveland and the Cubs?

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Detroit Tigers Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Though the runs column might not show it, the Detroit Tigers lineup had one of its best performances of the season during Wednesday night’s 7-6 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

The club knocked 18 base hits on the night. Every player except Isaac Paredes managed at least one hit with seven nabbing more than one. Jonathan Schoop, Miguel Cabrera, Cameron Maybin and Andrew Romine each collected three hits apiece.

Detroit did their most damage during a five-run sixth inning in which they batted through the lineup, collecting seven hits including five in a row between the second and third outs. Trailing 3-1, Maybin started the frame with an opposite-field double that missed leaving the yard by mere inches and Romine followed it up with a two-bagger of his own. The next two batters could not keep the train rolling, but every ensuing hitter between Schoop and Jorge Bonifacio collected hits to fuel the eventual game-winning inning.

The Cubs offense did not just lay down, though. They nabbed 11 hits of their own, including four in a nerve-wracking ninth inning helmed by Buck Farmer.

Yes, Buck Farmer took the ninth inning in a save situation. Following Joe Jimenez’s recent struggles, Tigers’ manager Ron Gardenhire went to the beleaguered closer in the sixth inning where he allowed one hit — a solo home run from Kyle Schwarber.

Chicago began the ninth with four straight hits, including doubles from David Bote and Albert Almora, to cut Detroit’s lead to two. Anthony Rizzo’s sacrifice fly in the next at-bat brought his team within one run. Javier Baez hit a sharp fly out to Bonifacio for the second out before Schwarber scalded a line drive back at Farmer, who snared the screamer to end the Cubs’ comeback.

Outside of those Jimenez and Farmer, though, the bullpen continued to dazzle.

Daniel Norris took over for starting pitcher Michael Fulmer (3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K) in the fourth and continued his strong string of long-relief appearances. The left-hander threw two scoreless innings, surrendering two hits with no walks nor strikeouts.

Bryan Garcia, Jose Cisnero and Gregory Soto continued to show that they have the makings of being legitimate MLB relievers, throwing a combined two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and one walk between them — both off of which came off Garcia.

Following a brutal nine-game losing streak in mid-August, the Tigers have now won four of their last six games in taking a pair of series’ against playoff contenders.

It will not get any easier though: the AL Central leading Minnesota Twins will visit Comerica Park for a four-game slate beginning Thursday. Surprise ace and former Utica Unicorn Randy Dobnak (5-1, 1.78 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound opposite Matthew Boyd (0-4, 8.48 ERA), who is looking to build off his first respectable start of the season.