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Detroit Tigers' Daniel Norris homers, then gets hurt in rout of Chicago Cubs

By
The Sports Xchange
Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Daniel Norris. Photo by David Tulis/UPI
Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Daniel Norris. Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

CHICAGO -- Daniel Norris experienced a bittersweet night.

The Detroit Tigers rookie left-hander homered in his first career plate appearance and had a lead in a respectable outing Wednesday until a right oblique strain forced him out of the game in the fifth inning and onto the disabled list.

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Norris' teammates also had a big offensive night in a 15-8 victory over the Chicago Cubs that allowed the Tigers to complete a two-game series sweep.

Going forward, though, Detroit will be without Norris indefinitely.

"I went out for that (fifth) inning and it was the first curveball that I threw to (center fielder Dexter) Fowler and I pulled down on it and that's when I felt kind of a cramp," said Norris, who would up with a no-decision. "And the next (pitch), I felt it again. I wanted to stay in the game. I felt really good on the mound, but you want to be smart about those things."

Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos hit two home runs -- including a third-inning grand slam -- and went 4-for-5 with five RBIs.

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Detroit right fielder J.D. Martinez clubbed his 32nd homer of the season in the ninth. Left fielder Rajai Davis also went deep for the Tigers.

Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant had a career-high four hits, including a two-run homer. Fowler and left fielder Kyle Schwarber homered for Chicago, too.

The Tigers and Cubs combined for eight home runs and 32 hits on Wednesday after they collectively had five homers and 30 hits Tuesday in a 10-8 Detroit victory.

"The offense showed up and we got a lot of hits," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "For both teams, the wind was a little bit of a contributing factor, but we swung the bats well."

The Tigers (58-61) made it three wins in their past four games. The Cubs (67-51) took their third consecutive loss.

"I'm just really happy it wasn't a three-game series," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "What are you going to do? They hit the ball. Everything they hit was hard, far. We played pretty good offense ourselves. ... But those things happen."

Cubs left-handed starter Jon Lester (8-9) took the loss in a 2 2/3-inning outing.

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Tigers right-handed reliever Neftali Feliz (3-3) worked the final 1 1/3 innings for the win.

In the second inning, Castellanos gave Detroit a 1-0 edge with a leadoff home run to right.

Norris, who broke a panel on a Cubs video board with a home run swat during batting practice, hit the real thing in the second inning.

His two-run shot to right in his first major league at-bat opened a 3-0 lead.

Norris became the first pitcher in four years to homer in his first big league plate appearance. He also became the American League pitcher to homer in a game at Wrigley Field.

Castellanos made it 7-0 with a first-pitch grand slam to left with no outs in the third. His second homer of the game brought home second baseman Ian Kinsler, first baseman Miguel Cabrera and Martinez.

It was the second grand slam of Castellanos' career.

"When our talent comes together, it's pretty obvious we have a pretty dangerous squad," Castellanos said.

Lester allowed seven runs on seven hits and three walks. He struck out four.

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"He was not on top of his game," Maddon said, "but he's fine. He's going to be fine. I have no concerns whatsoever."

The Cubs broke the shutout with three runs in the third on two home runs off Norris.

Fowler (three hits) homered to right for his 13th of the season, matching a career high reached with the Colorado Rockies in 2012. Bryant then launched his 17th homer to left with two outs, scoring Schwarber to trim the Tigers' lead to 7-3.

Norris departed with one out and one runner on in the fifth. He was replaced by left-hander Tom Gorzelanny, who walked the next two batters to load the bases.

Gorzelanny left after getting Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo on a popup for the second out. Right-hander Al Alburquerque entered and got right fielder Jorge Soler to pop up in the infield to end the threat.

Norris allowed three runs on four hits while striking out six and walking one.

Davis slammed his fourth home run of the season to open the sixth. The solo shot gave Detroit an 8-3 lead.

NOTES: Detroit called up RHP Drew VerHagen from Triple-A Toledo for his second stint major league stint of the season. He allowed one run in one inning Wednesday night. VerHagen was 3-3 with a 3.41 ERA in 34 1/3 innings between Toledo and Double-A Erie. The Tigers optioned INF Jefrey Marte to Toledo. ... Both the Tigers and Cubs wore 1945 throwback uniforms, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II as well as the last time they met in a World Series. ... Detroit returns home Thursday to open a four-game series with Texas. Rangers LHP Martin Perez (1-2, 5.29 ERA) goes against Tigers RHP Alfredo Simon (10-7, 4.84). ... The Cubs remain home and open a four-game series with the Braves on Thursday, when RHP Jake Arrieta (14-6, 2.39) faces Atlanta RHP Mike Foltynewicz (4-4, 5.61).

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