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Javier Baez flashed a little baserunning moxie. It paid off and Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon loved it.
Baez stole home and the Willson Contreras hit a tie-breaking homer to lead the Cubs past the Detroit Tigers 5-2 on Wednesday for their sixth straight victory.
“Who’s more exciting to watch than he Mark Stone Jersey ,” Maddon said of Baez. “He is, I’d say, in that top-10 kind of part of the Rat Pack from back in the day. He’s one of those guys.”
“He sashayed in with Sinatra. That’s how he plays baseball.”
Baez capped an eventful trip around the bases by stealing home in the fourth to tie it at 2. He singled to lead off the inning, then Detroit starter Francisco Liriano picked him off first base. But first baseman John Hicks‘ throw to second sailed into left field and Baez advanced to third.
Baez sprinted home when Liriano tried pick off Addison Russell at first. Hicks’ throw to catcher James McCann was quick and accurate, but Baez slid head-first and touched the plate before McCann could tag him.
“As soon as I got to third, I was just ready from the first pitch,” Baez said. “I just went for it.
“I used to slide head-first (as a kid) and get stuck and not go through the bag or whatever,” Baez added. “I was kind of worried about it because I didn’t want to do the scorpion.”
But instead of ending up with his tail in the air, Baez slid just outside of the plate and reached in.
“It was a close play, obviously,” McCann said. “He put a swim move on me”
Conditions at Wrigley Field favored the longball, with a game-time temperature of 92 degrees, a heat index of 102 and the wind blowing out. Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire left the dugout midway through the game with what bench coach Steve Liddle called “being overheated.”
David Bote hit his first homer while Detroit got solo shots from Nick Castellanos and Hicks, but was swept by the Cubs in the two-game interleague set and has dropped 13 of 15.
Bote, playing third in place of injured Kris Bryant, smacked his drive into the batter’s eye shrubs in straight-away center on the first pitch he faced in the second to tie it at 1 in the second.
Contreras homered in the sixth to put the Cubs ahead 3-2 and then added a two-run double in the seventh.
Chicago starter Jose Quintana (7-6) allowed two runs on five hits through six innings to win for the first time since May 31. Liriano (3-5) permitted three runs on five hits and five walks in his third outing -and third loss – since returning from the disabled list.
“We’ve got to keep playing, keep grinding, and hopefully things are going to turn around for us Youth Matt Duchene Jersey ,” Liriano said.
Brandon Morrow pitched the ninth for his 19th save in 20 chances.
Castellanos hit his 14th homer, and third in five games, to left in the first to put Detroit ahead 1-0. In each game of the Cubs’ winning streak, the opponent has scored first.
Hicks’ shot in the third landed halfway up the left-center bleachers and put the Tigers back in front, 2-1.
Bote played his 15th game in the majors and entered hitting .241. The 25-year-old was recalled from Triple-A Iowa for the third time this season on June 26.
The Cubs recalled C/INF Victor Caratini from Triple-A Iowa and designated C Chris Gimenez for assignment. Caratini started at first base on Wednesday as Anthony Rizzo didn’t enter the game until he pinch hit in the sixth.
Caratini was on the Cubs’ opening day roster, then was sent to the minors on May 25 for more playing time. With Iowa, the 24-year-old batted .313 with four home runs and 22 RBIs in 32 games. He’s a switch-hitter who can play the infield and catch.
Cubs: Although he was eligible to come off the disabled list on Tuesday, the earliest INF/OF Bryant (left shoulder inflammation) will return is Friday. Maddon said Bryant was still feeling some soreness. . Maddon said RHP Yu Darvish (right triceps inflammation, right elbow impingement/inflammation) is feeling better, but there’s no timetable for him to resume throwing. Darvish got a fresh opinion and a cortisone shot from Dr. Keith Meister last Friday in Texas after suffering pain in a bullpen session in Los Angeles on Thursday. “We want to develop a plan to get him back out there as soon as possible,” Maddon said.
Tigers: LHP Matthew Boyd (4-6, 4.18) faces the Rangers RHP Yovani Gallardo (2-0, 9.00) on Thursday as Detroit opens a four-game home series versus Texas.
Cubs: Following a day off on Thursday, Chicago sends LHP Mike Montgomery (3-2, 3.55) to the mound against RHP Tyler Mahle (6-6, 3.83) to open a three-game set against the Reds at Wrigley Field.
Clayton Kershaw is set to make a surprise return from the disabled list Saturday night, starting for the Los Angeles Dodgers in a marquee matchup against New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom.
Kershaw has been sidelined since June 1 with a lower back strain. The three-time Cy Young Award winner and 2014 NL MVP originally was scheduled to make a rehab start Saturday with Triple-A Oklahoma City at Omaha, but heavy rain in the forecast caused the Dodgers to change plans.
”It’s probably the best thing for him and for us Mike Condon Jersey ,” manager Dave Roberts said Friday. ”We don’t know how much he’s going to pitch. I don’t want to put a limit on him. Obviously, there is a limitation with Clayton, and I’ll make that decision.”
Roberts said rookie Caleb Ferguson (0-1, 7.59 ERA) will be ready in reserve. The 21-year-old left-hander had been slated to make his fourth major league start Saturday.
There’s rain in the New York forecast as well, but Roberts said the Dodgers took all that into account.
”From what I understand it’s going to be early and if there’s a delay, we have ample time to get him ready. But obviously, we’re not going to do anything to put him in harm’s way,” Roberts said. ”If there is something where we are shut down, having Caleb behind him, we have that coverage. So we can kind of combat that.”
Before the switch, Roberts had said Kershaw would throw no more than four innings and 60 pitches for Oklahoma City.
The 30-year-old Kershaw is 1-4 with a 2.76 ERA in eight starts this year for the defending NL champions, who have been riddled by injuries.
He was out for nearly a month with left biceps tendinitis before returning May 31 against Philadelphia. He pitched five effective innings in a no-decision against the Phillies, and then went back on the disabled list the next day with the back injury.
The ace left-hander threw a three-inning simulated Monday at Wrigley Field in Chicago and said he felt really good. The next day, Roberts said Kershaw returning against the Mets this weekend was considered, but the team opted for a minor league start to give him ”the best chance for success and health.”
Kershaw, a seven-time All-Star, missed about five weeks last season with a similar back problem.
Roberts acknowledged that Kershaw lobbied to pitch at Citi Field this weekend, rather than in the minors.
”He did play a little weather man Ryan Dzingel Jersey , so with weather.com and Clayton, we were pretty abreast with the weather in Omaha,” Roberts said with a chuckle.
”Just the way he’s responded to all the tests and to get him with us, the weather over there in Omaha, we feel comfortable and confident,” the manager added.
Rich Hill will start Sunday for the Dodgers, followed by Kenta Maeda at home Monday against the Cubs.
In other injury-related news, shortstop Chris Taylor was out of the lineup because of a tight left hamstring. Enrique Hernandez started in place of Taylor, who exited Wednesday’s game in Chicago against the Cubs. He was available off the bench – probably just to hit, Roberts said.
”We’ll give him today and we’ll see about tomorrow,” he added.
Backup infielder Chase Utley was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list after missing 19 games with a sprained left thumb. A longtime New York nemesis and villain to Mets fans, Utley was on the bench for the series opener. He was batting .216 with a home run and 14 RBIs this season.
Utley has excelled as a pinch hitter, going 7 for 17 (.412) with five RBIs and two extra-base hits.
Los Angeles opened a roster spot for him by optioning catcher-infielder Kyle Farmer to Oklahoma City on Wednesday.
Rookie right-hander Walker Buehler is scheduled to throw 20 to 30 pitches in a bullpen session Saturday, the next step in his comeback from a right rib microfracture. He could return to the rotation without a minor league rehab assignment, Roberts said.
Rated one of baseball’s top pitching prospects, Buehler is 4-1 with a 2.63 ERA in nine big league starts.