CHICAGO -- David Bote celebrated his first home run, Javier Baez did another magic act by stealing home and Willson Contreras provided the fireworks with a tie-breaking home run and two-run double to lift the Cubs to a 5-2 win on Wednesday over the Tigers, extending their winning streak to
CHICAGO -- David Bote celebrated his first home run, Javier Baez did another magic act by stealing home and Willson Contreras provided the fireworks with a tie-breaking home run and two-run double to lift the Cubs to a 5-2 win on Wednesday over the Tigers, extending their winning streak to a season-high six games.
Contreras smacked his go-ahead home run off Tigers starter Francisco Liriano in the sixth inning and his double with two outs in the seventh off Louis Coleman gave Chicago some breathing room. Contreras now has eight hits in 16 at-bats during this homestand.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon wasn't aware of the win streak; he's been more focused on the improved approach at the plate, which has resulted in 56 runs in the six games.
"I like the at-bats," Maddon said. "The at-bats are exponentially better."
Each of the six wins have required a rally, and the Cubs lead the Major Leagues with 26 comeback wins. The Phillies began the day with 25.
"If we can respond to our pitchers and not let many runners get on base, I think we're going to be great again," Baez said.
Bote's homer with two outs in the second tied the game at 1 while Baez put on another magic show in the fourth with his second steal of home this season to tie the game at 2.
"It's a beautiful play," Cubs shortstop Addison Russell said of Baez's acrobatics. "You have to have the right people involved. Javy's the top candidate for that."
Jose Quintana picked up his first win since May 31. The lefty served up five hits, including solo home runs to Nicholas Castellanos in the first and John Hicks in the third.
"I felt really good about today's outing," said Quintana, who was making his 200th career start. "I felt I had good command of all my pitches. Overall, I was really happy with my performance."
With the win, the Cubs improved to 8-4 against the American League this season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Souvenir: Bote created his own holiday celebration in the second. Called up from Triple-A Iowa to help while Kristopher Bryant is sidelined, Bote launched the first pitch he saw from Liriano 440 feet to straightaway center and into the juniper bushes in the batter's eye. According to Statcast™, it's the longest home run hit by a Cubs player this season. Bote, ranked 14th by MLB Pipeline among the Cubs' Top 30 Prospects, hit 12 home runs in 54 games at Iowa this season.
Someone climbed into the bushes to get the milestone baseball.
"I didn't know if it would be silent treatment or what," Bote said of the reception in the dugout. "I was trying to keep a straight face around the bases, and I saw [Kyle] Schwarber with his arms up going crazy and I couldn't help but smile.
"You always envision it, however it happens. It's been a long journey and it's not over yet. Let's just keep going. It's definitely fun. I was really glad to get the win with it."
Glove work:Jose Iglesias doubled to open the Tigers' seventh against Anthony Bass and tried to score on pinch-hitter Victor Martinez's single to center. But center fielder Albert Almora Jr. threw a perfect strike to Contreras to get Iglesias at home.
Baez is the fifth player to steal home twice in one season in the past 10 years, joining Juan Pierre (2010), Elvis Andrus ('11), Jacoby Ellsbury ('16) and Travis Jankowski ('16). No Cubs player in the last 40 years has done that.
Baez is the first Cubs player to steal home twice in a single season since Ted Savage in 1967.
Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire had to leave the game because of the heat. Game-time temperature was 92 degrees, but the heat index made it feel like 102 degrees.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
In the Chicago fourth, it appeared as if Liriano had Baez picked off, but Baez stole second, then scampered to third when first baseman Hicks' throw sailed into left. Baez considered going home but stopped at third. Not for long, though. After Russell walked, Liriano made a pickoff attempt to first, but Baez took advantage and stole home. It's the fourth time in his career he's swiped home and third time in the regular season. Baez needed to use his swim move to get around catcher James McCann and touch home plate. Baez now leads the Cubs with 15 stolen bases; no other player on the team is in double digits.
"It takes a lot of will on the baserunner's part to work hard every single pitch, and that's what that kid does," Tigers coach Steve Liddell said. "[Baez] works hard every single pitch."
HE SAID IT
"I feel a lot of people want to follow me and play the way I play. The thing is, it's being you. I go out there to have fun and do the best for my teammates and play hard. Obviously, like I say all the time, I'm not trying to show anybody up. I'm trying to do my best for the team." -- Baez
After an off-day Thursday, Mike Montgomery will open a three-game series against the Reds on Friday. With Yu Darvish's status uncertain, Montgomery will make his eighth start. So far, he's 3-1 with a 2.43 ERA in the rotation. He's made one start and pitched two games in relief against the Reds this season. In his start on June 24, he gave up four runs over six innings and did not get a decision. First pitch will be 1:20 p.m. CT at Wrigley Field, and Cincinnati will counter with right-hander Tyler Mahle.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.