Tigers top Cubs in Interleague series opener

Tigers top Cubs in Interleague series opener

DETROIT -- Rajai Davis hit a double and a triple and robbed David Ross of a potential homer, and Nick Castellanos added a two-run single to lift the Tigers to a 6-0 Interleague victory over the Cubs on Tuesday night.

Miguel Cabrera smacked an RBI single in the Tigers first, extending his on-base streak to 27 games, and helped Anibal Sanchez pick up the win over Chicago's Jon Lester, now winless in his last four starts.

"Detroit's always been a tough one for me -- I don't know why," Lester said. "I guess it's one of those teams that you struggle with."

Sanchez, who entered the game ranked among the American League leaders in home runs allowed, was stingy, and scattered six hits, all singles, over 7 2/3 innings for the win. The Tigers improved to 14-4 in Interleague Play against the Cubs since 1998.

"Today I feel really good," Sanchez said. "I [started] hitting the corners, I [started] throwing my pitch in the right zone in the right situation, too, something that I lost early in the first two months."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Great glovework: Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes did not appear to get a good read on Ross' fly ball in the second, but center fielder Davis did, and he robbed the Cubs' catcher of a potential home run. Chicago had one on and two outs when Ross lofted the ball toward left-center. Davis perfectly timed his jump and snared the ball at the fence in front of the Cubs' bullpen. Davis had helped the Tigers score in the first inning, too, when he doubled to lead off, advanced on a passed ball and scored on Cabrera's single. More >

Miggy's RBI single

Motown blues: Lester served up five runs on nine hits over 4 1/3 innings, his shortest outing since the season opener, and took the loss, his third in a row. In his last two games, Lester has been charged with 11 runs on 18 hits over 9 1/3 innings. Maybe it's the Tigers. Lester is now 1-2 in five starts at Comerica Park, giving up 20 runs on 40 hits over 28 1/3 innings there. The lefty had a rough April but seemed to be back on track after going 4-1 in six May starts with a 1.76 ERA.

"It's not good," Lester said of his recent outings. "I'm not getting deep into games. Regardless of runs, hits, errors, walks, strikeouts, whatever, I've got to do a better job pitching innings. That's what it comes down to."

Cespedes throws out Lake: Cespedes and his cannon outfield arm have built a reputation around the AL over the last few years. Maybe it didn't reach parts of the National League yet, because Junior Lake was sent home with two outs in the fifth inning on Addison Russell's ground ball through the left side. Cespedes gathered the ball around the time Lake was rounding third, leaving Cespedes with an easy throw home on a bounce and catcher James McCann with time to line up a tag. It was Cespedes' sixth assist this season, and a big out with the top of the Cubs' order on deck.

Cespedes' beautiful throw

Cespedes wasn't surprised Lake went but said that he wishes everyone would try to run on him so that he could get more outs.

Cubs closer: Edwin Jackson won't get credit for anything other than an appearance, but he saved the team with his relief effort. The right-hander, who is being used in the bullpen full-time after primarily working as a starter, gave up four hits over 3 2/3 innings.

"That's unreal for him to come in and do what he did -- he saved our bullpen," Lester said.

Added Cubs manager Joe Maddon: "That's as good as you're going to see Eddie Jackson pitch right there. ... You can see when he gets into a nice rhythm there, he really gets very assertive and aggressive. When he's like that, his stuff is as good as anybody's."

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Miguel Montero made his Major League debut on Sept. 6, 2006, for the D-backs, but went hitless in three at-bats. So did the rest of his Arizona teammates, as Sanchez threw a no-hitter that night for the Marlins. On Tuesday, Sanchez picked up the win for the Tigers over Montero and the Cubs.

Sanchez holds Cubs scoreless

Cabrera has reached base safely 26 times in 38 career plate appearances, including the postseason, against Lester. That breaks down to 16 hits and 10 walks.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
In the Chicago fifth, the Tigers challenged whether Lake was safe after stealing second base. Second baseman Ian Kinsler made the tag. After review, the call was upheld. But Lake was then thrown out at home by Cespedes as he tried to score on Russell's single.

Lake steals second

WHAT'S NEXT
Cubs: Jake Arrieta will start on Wednesday in the second and final game of this brief Interleague series against the Tigers. Arrieta has not won in two outings at Comerica Park in his career, and is 1-1 with a 3.71 ERA vs. Detroit overall. First pitch is at 6:08 p.m. CT.

Tigers: Shane Greene, who has allowed 15 earned runs on 22 hits over 11 2/3 innings in his last three starts, will try to reverse his momentum on Wednesday night at 7:08 P.M. ET. Greene has been working with pitching coach Jeff Jones, reportedly on his arm angle, since his last start.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.