- 142 wins
- 110 wins
CHICAGO -- The Cubs still struggled with runners in scoring position on Tuesday and struck out 12 times, but they took advantage of their speed and miscues by the Tigers to make it home sweet home.
Darwin Barney drove in three runs and scored on a throwing error by shortstop Jhonny Peralta, his second of the inning, with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth to lift the Cubs to a 4-3 Interleague victory over the Tigers on Tuesday.
It was only the Cubs' sixth win in their last 26 games, but it was needed after a tough 2-8 road trip which resulted in hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo's dismissal on Tuesday.
With the game tied at 3 and one out in the eighth against Phil Coke (1-3), Barney walked. Ian Stewart struck out, but pinch-hitter Reed Johnson reached on an infield single. Tony Campana then hit a chopper to Peralta, whose throw pulled Ramon Santiago off second base. The bases were loaded for Starlin Castro, who hit the ball to Peralta, and this time his throw pulled Prince Fielder off the bag at first. Barney scored on the play.
"It's nice to get the breaks once in a while," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "Things went in our favor tonight in that last inning. It was nice. Sometimes you need that to get out of some funks."
Coke didn't quite agree with the calls.
"I was pretty confident that Santiago not only beat the runner to the bag, but the throw beat the runner to the bag at second base, and I guess we could go look at the replay and see what it says," Coke said. "I knew for a fact [Castro] was out at first base, because there's no way that [Fielder's] body came off the bag with the ball not in his glove. There's no way. ... I'm not saying anything ill towards anybody, I want to be very clear about that. It just didn't go our way right now."
Carlos Marmol (1-2) picked up the win in relief, and Shawn Camp pitched the ninth for his first save since July 9, 2011. This was the first meeting between the two teams since June 2009, and the Tigers lead the head-to-head matchup, 11-4.
Paul Maholm struck out a season-high seven batters and seemed in better command of the wind at Wrigley Field. He was in line for his first win since May 9, but Delmon Young doubled to lead off the seventh, although the replay showed Young was out at second on a throw by Alfonso Soriano. What did Barney think of the call?
"You don't want to be that guy calling people out, but I had my back turned and I kind of went right in front of [the umpire's] line of sight and threw myself in front of the bag," Barney said. "It looked like I got [Young]."
Peralta then walked and Maholm exited. Casey Coleman retired the first batter he faced, but walked pinch-hitter Quintin Berry. Santiago came off the bench to hit an RBI single, and Austin Jackson followed with a two-run single to tie the game.
Chicago did draw more walks than Detroit (7-2), but still went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11. Interim hitting coach James Rowson has some work to do.
"[Our approach tonight] has nothing to do with the new hitting coach, it has nothing to do with Rudy being gone," Barney said. "That was just our game plan tonight. That's always our game plan -- to see pitches and swing at strikes. It doesn't have anything to do with someone leaving or someone coming. I think tonight we did a good job of being selective and swinging at the right pitch."
The Cubs took the lead in the second on Barney's run-scoring groundout, and made it 3-0 with two outs in the sixth on his two-run double down the left-field line.
Fielder, who has 11 career homers at Wrigley Field, nearly picked up No. 12 in the sixth when he flew out to deep center to end the inning. As Maholm walked off the field, he looked back and exchanged smiles with Fielder, who knows only too well about the wind after visiting here often with the Brewers.
"He's a great player and he's eventually going to get me, and I know that," Maholm said. "It's been fun and a great battle, and fortunately for me, I've won most of them. I understand he's eventually going to get me and I'm going to laugh."
Sveum, who was Fielder's hitting coach in Milwaukee the last three years, chuckled, too.
"I was laughing at Prince, because that was the same old, same old when he comes to this park," Sveum said. "When he steps foot in this park, the wind is always blowing in. Now, it's a good thing."
The Cubs' problem hasn't been Jaramillo or the lack of effort.
"I know our record ain't that good, but these guys have run out every ball and the effort has been there for 61 games," Sveum said. "The effort is there, and preparation, and these guys have battled through tough times. It's nice to get the breaks."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.