DETROIT (AP) — Yan Gomes hit a tiebreaking, two-out single in the eighth inning, and the playoff-contending Chicago Cubs beat the Detroit Tigers 6-4 on Wednesday.
Detroit’s Kerry Carpenter hit a grand slam in the sixth inning off Jameson Taillon that tied the game at 4-all, but his teammates didn’t do much else at the plate.
The Cubs have won 24 of their last 34 games and took two of three from the Tigers, improving to 9-1-1 in their last 11 series. They currently hold the second NL wild-card spot and are trying to challenge first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central.
Julian Merryweather (5-1) struck out three in 1 1/3 innings. Adbert Alzolay pitched the ninth, striking out Jake Rogers with runners on second and third for his 19th save — converting on his 15th straight opportunity.
In the eighth, Ian Happ had a one-out infield hit against Beau Briske (0-2), who walked Seiya Suzuki with two outs and then yielded Gomes’ single to left.
Nico Hoerner’s sacrifice fly in the ninth gave the Cubs a two-run cushion.
Chicago led 4-0 through four innings, scoring each run with two-out hits.
The Cubs went ahead 1-0 in the second when former Tigers infielder Jeimer Candelario hit his 37th double of the season.
Cody Bellinger’s two-run single in the third and Nick Madrigal’s RBI single gave Chicago a four-run cushion that seemed comfortable with the way Taillon was pitching. The right-hander didn’t give up a hit through five innings, getting some help from center fielder Bellinger tracking down drives to the warning track.
Andy Ibanez, who hit two homers for Detroit in Tuesday’s win, broke through with a leadoff single in the sixth on an 0-2 fastball over the middle of the plate.
Jake Rogers and Akil Baddo followed with singles to load the bases, and Carpenter cleared them with two outs. His grand slam to right-center was his 20th homer of the season.
Tigers RHP Spencer Turnbull was optioned to Triple-A Toledo after being reinstated from the 60-day injured list.
Tarik Skubal’s left leg was struck by Gomes’ 101.6 mph comebacker in the fourth inning. After being evaluated on the field, the left-hander stayed in the game. Skubal gave up four runs on six hits and a walk while striking out seven over six innings.
Cubs: LHP Justin Steele (14-3, 2.80 ERA) is expected to start Thursday’s series opener at Pittsburgh.
Tigers: Following a day off, Detroit RHP Matt Manning (5-4, 4.31) is scheduled to start Friday night against visiting Houston.