Castellanos homers twice, Tigers pound Lester, Cubs
CHICAGO — The home run that pitcher Daniel Norris hit in his first career plate appearance more than lived up to his childhood dreams.
"Cloud Nine," he said.
The injury that followed put a damper on his night.
Norris homered in his first career plate appearance, Nick Castellanos went deep twice, including a grand slam, and the Detroit Tigers pounded Jon Lester in a 15-8 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.
The Tigers set season highs in runs and hits (21) and tied one with five homers — three off Lester. It was also the second time this season that they reached double digits in scoring in consecutive games after winning 10-8 on Tuesday.
The Cubs dropped their third straight after winning nine in a row and 15 of 16, with Lester (8-9) making his earliest exit of the season.
The Cubs' ace lasted just 2 2/3 innings in his shortest outing since 2012 while allowing a season-high seven runs.
Norris became the 19th pitcher and first since 2011 to homer in his first major league at-bat, according to STATS, when he lined a two-run drive in the second inning. He left the game in the fifth because of a strained right oblique and is likely headed to the disabled list, manager Brad Ausmus said.
"It's pretty frustrating," Norris said. "I wanted to stay in the game and get deeper in the game for my team."
Norris sounded surprised that he likely will wind up on the DL. He is scheduled to have an MRI on Thursday and wants to see what the doctor says.
"It's a DL situation, so he's going to go on the DL and we're going to have to do something," Ausmus said.
That certainly put a damper on quite a night for Norris, who homered Wednesday after smashing a panel on Wrigley Field's new video board in batting practice the previous day.
"A little surreal," Ausmus said. "We've been talking about how much power he has for a guy who never hits, and all of a sudden he hits a home run to center field. There's not many pitchers who can claim they hit a home run to center field their first at-bat."
Castellanos drove in a career-high five runs and tied one with four hits. He recorded the first multihomer game of his career with a leadoff drive in the second and the grand slam that made it 7-0 in the third.
J.D. Martinez hit his 32nd homer. Rajai Davis went deep, and reliever Neftali Feliz (3-3) got the win in a game that lasted 3 hours, 48 minutes.
Chicago's Dexter Fowler, Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber all homered. But after Jason Hammel lasted just three innings Tuesday, Lester made an even earlier exit.
He gave up seven hits and three homers — one shy of his career high — after going 4-0 in his previous five starts.
"I'm being honest with you right now, I'm just scratching my head," Lester said.
Norris went 4 1/3 innings allowing three runs and four hits. He struck out six and walked one as the Tigers completed a two-game sweep.
BY THE NUMBERS
The 15 runs, 21 hits and five home runs were the most allowed by the Cubs this season.
Tigers: Ausmus said C Bryan Holaday dislocated his left thumb in a collision at home plate playing for Triple-A Toledo on Monday and could return in a few weeks. Ausmus said tests did not show any fractures or ligament damage.
Cubs: RHP Rafael Soriano (right shoulder inflammation) likely will remain with the team for the rest of this homestand and then go on a rehab assignment during the team's trip to San Francisco and Los Angeles Aug. 25-30.
Tigers: RHP Alfredo Simon (10-7, 4.84 ERA) starts as the Tigers open a four-game series against Martin Perez (1-2, 5.29) and the Texas Rangers.
Cubs: RHP Jake Arrieta (14-6, 2.39) , 8-1 in his past 11 starts, looks to stay on a roll as the Cubs begin a four-game set against RHP Mike Foltynewicz (4-4, 5.61) and the Atlanta Braves.