Tigers 8, Cubs 4
Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera are two of the majors' most feared sluggers. When Jhonny Peralta, Brennan Boesch and Delmon Young start coming up with big hits, the Detroit Tigers are one tough team to stop.
Just ask the Chicago Cubs.
Peralta had three hits and two RBIs one night after he made two costly throwing errors, and the Tigers rallied to beat the Cubs 8-4 on Wednesday.
''We bounced back,'' manager Jim Leyland said. ''We had some big hits, timely hits, bullpen did a great job, and a good win for us.''
Boesch had four hits, including a solo homer, and made a diving catch in right field as the Tigers improved to 8-1 in their last nine games against the Cubs. The one loss during that stretch occurred in the series opener Tuesday night, when Peralta made two errant throws from shortstop in the eighth inning that led to the decisive run for Chicago in a 4-3 victory.
But Peralta responded in a big way in the middle game of the series, and the Tigers will send Justin Verlander to the mound Thursday afternoon with a chance at a heartening 4-2 interleague road trip for a club that has underachieved so far this year.
''Tomorrow's a big game for us,'' Leyland said, ''because you go to Cincinnati and Chicago and you've got a chance to win both series. That's pretty good. You've got to try to win each series. If you can do that, then you put yourself back in decent shape.''
With one out and runners on the corners in the sixth, Peralta hit a drive to center for a two-run double that tied it at 4. He advanced on Gerald Laird's bunt single against Matt Garza and scored on Ramon Santiago's comebacker to put Detroit in front.
Boesch added his seventh homer in the seventh and an RBI single in the eighth, delighting the sizeable portion of Tigers fans among the season-high crowd of 41,326 at Wrigley Field.
''I think that's a tribute to Detroit fans,'' Boesch said. ''The road fans are my favorite fans and most of the players' favorite fans because they come and they bring the noise, bring the passion. They're die-hard Tigers fans.''
Alfonso Soriano, Darwin Barney and Steve Clevenger had two hits apiece for the Cubs, who had won four straight home games. Joe Mather, inserted into the lineup when third baseman Ian Stewart was scratched with a sore left wrist, contributed an RBI single but also made an error that fueled Detroit's four-run rally in the sixth.
Garza (2-5) allowed five runs, three earned, and seven hits in six innings. The right-hander is 0-4 with a 5.26 ERA in his last seven starts.
''It was unfortunate more than anything,'' Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. ''It wasn't like they were beating him up or hitting balls real hard, besides the ball Peralta hit - then all of a sudden four runs scored.''
Soriano and Bryan LaHair hit consecutive run-scoring doubles to make it 4-1 in the fifth, but the Tigers eventually solved Garza on the way to their third victory in the last four games.
Boesch sparked the big sixth inning with a leadoff single. Cabrera then hit a grounder to Mather, who kicked it toward second for an error. That miscue opened the door for Tigers, who got a one-out RBI single from Young before Peralta came up with his clutch hit.
''I just missed it,'' Mather said. ''It was the turning point in the game. Garza got out of trouble right there. He was in a little bit of trouble and he got out of it. I feel bad that that's what kind of started it all.''
Rick Porcello (4-4) gave up nine hits in five innings, but managed to earn his first victory since May 6 against the White Sox. The right-hander was 0-2 with a 5.17 ERA in his previous six starts.
The Cubs and Tigers exchanged two fielding gems in the seventh. Shortstop Starlin Castro made a diving stop on Cabrera's smash in the top half of the inning, but Boesch robbed David DeJesus of a hit in the bottom half.
Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson added a great catch against the wall in center to end the game.
NOTES: Stewart is going to visit another doctor on Thursday, and Sveum said he was headed for the disabled list. Sveum said he wasn't sure yet which player was coming up from the minors. ... Tigers RHP Doug Fister (strained left side) threw a side session and ''felt really good,'' according to Leyland. ... Tigers OF Andy Dirks (right Achilles tendinitis) ran Tuesday, but Leyland said it didn't go well. ''Dirks isn't ready. I don't know when we'll get Dirks back,'' he said. ... Verlander (5-4, 2.69 ERA) will face LHP Travis Wood (0-2, 4.71 ERA) in the series finale. Verlander pitched 5 2-3 innings of one-run ball in his only start at Wrigley Field, a 9-3 victory on June 17, 2006. He is hitless in 21 career at-bats with 13 strikeouts. Wood is searching for his first win since he recorded two outs for Cincinnati at Pittsburgh on Aug. 19.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap