Cubs drop Tigers for sixth consecutive comeback win

by - Senior Writer -
Willson Contreras led the Cubs to victory with three RBI on the afternoon. (Photo Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports)
Willson Contreras led the Cubs to victory with three RBI on the afternoon. (Photo Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO — A festive afternoon at Wrigley Field turned into a festive win for the Chicago Cubs (49-35) in their Independence Day matchup with the Detroit Tigers (38-50). Tallying their sixth straight come-from-behind win, the Cubs swept the Tigers in the two-game set at the Friendly Confines for their second consecutive series sweep. With the 5-2 victory, the Cubs pulled off their league-leading 26th comeback victory.

Nicholas Castellanos provided Detroit with the early edge on a first-inning solo home run. Tigers first baseman John Hicks added a solo blast of his own in the third inning. With the exception of the two long balls, Cubs starting pitcher Jose Quintana pitched fairly well in six innings of work. Striking out four and giving up five hits and three walks, Quintana picked up the win to move to 7-6. Prior to Wednesday, Quintana last earned a winning decision on May 31.

Solo home runs played a major role in the Cubs' early scoring action, as well. Third baseman David Bote slugged his first career homer on a 440-foot rope to center field in the second inning. Later, in the sixth, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras powered out his seventh home run of the season with a 430-foot skyball hit beyond center field.

In between the two bombs, Cubs spark plug Javier Baez manufactured a run all by himself. In the bottom of the fourth, Baez led off with a single left. Thereafter, he got a decent jump on the Tigers when stealing second base. Tigers catcher James McCann gunned a throw to Hicks, who, in turn, made an errant heave in the direction of second base.

Credited with a steal of second base, Baez made it to third base on the throw into the outfield. Baez did not stop there, however. Mere minutes later, he stole home for the second time this season and fourth time in his career. Using his trademark swim move to avoid getting tagged by McCann, Baez used a headfirst hook slide of sorts to touch home plate safely and tie the game at 2-2. Baez now boasts 15 steals on the year.

Leading 3-2 after the Contreras homer, the Cubs were able to maintain their lead in the top of the seventh because of a questionable base-running decision by the Tigers and a spectacular outfield assist by Chicago center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias led off with a double and, on the next at-bat, was sent home on a routine single to center. Almora, Jr., proceeded to throw a bullet to Contreras, who applied the tag for the out.

Contreras proved to be a key factor for the Cubs both on offense and defense in the game. Going 2-3 and totaling three RBI, Contreras gave the Cubs some breathing room with a two-run double in the seventh. After Almora, Jr., walked to lead off the inning, outfielder Ben Zobrist, who went 2-4 at the dish, put runners on first and second with a single. Chicago failed to get the ball out of the infield in the next two at-bats, but, with men on second and third and two outs, Contreras came through in the clutch with a two-run two-bagger to left-center, thereby establish the eventual 5-2 final tally.

Tigers starting pitcher Francisco Liriano, who allowed five runs to score on five hits and five walks in six innings pitched, was handed the loss to fall to 3-5. Cubs closer Brandon Morrow pitched a scoreless ninth to gain his 19th save. The six-game win streak is the longest experienced by the Cubs this season. In addition, Chicago is now a season-high 14 games over .500.

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