Detroit Tigers can't solve Chicago Cubs, Kyle Hendricks in 5-1 loss of series finale

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Detroit Tigers left-hander Matthew Boyd pitched well Sunday afternoon, keeping the heart of the Chicago Cubs' lineup — Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez — to a minimum through six innings. The trio finished 1-for-9 with five strikeouts against Boyd.

But Cubs righty Kyle Hendricks was better.

The Tigers (14-26) couldn't snap Hendricks out of his rhythm and were handed a 5-1 loss in the series finale at Comerica Park. The Cubs won two of three games. On Sunday, the Tigers' offense produced eight hits, zero walks and nine strikeouts. Defensively, Niko Goodrum and Harold Castro made errors.

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Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks throws against the Tigers during the second inning on Sunday, May 16, 2021, at Comerica Park.
Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks throws against the Tigers during the second inning on Sunday, May 16, 2021, at Comerica Park.

Hendricks allowed eight hits in his eight-plus innings. He struck out eight, including JaCoby Jones and Robbie Grossman three times each, with no walks. Cubs manager David Ross pulled him in the ninth inning, following back-to-back, no-out singles from Harold Castro and Miguel Cabrera. Hendricks threw 76 of his 105 pitches for strikes.

Reliever Dan Winkler got the final three outs, but the Tigers finally scored on a force out from Jonathan Schoop. The run was charged to Hendricks.

Against Hendricks, the Tigers had an early scoring chance in the first inning, as Harold Castro and Cabrera delivered consecutive singles with one out, but Nomar Mazara grounded into a 5-6-3 double play to end the threat. In the third, Willi Castro singled but was picked off — on the sixth pickoff attempt — by Hendricks at first base.

Tigers third baseman Harold Castro singles against Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks during the first inning on Sunday, May 16, 2021, at Comerica Park.
Tigers third baseman Harold Castro singles against Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks during the first inning on Sunday, May 16, 2021, at Comerica Park.

Grossman tossed in a double in the sixth, but Hendricks worked around the extra-base hit to the left-center gap with ease. After Schoop's two-out double in the seventh, Hendricks needed one pitch to complete the inning. The final major threat against Hendricks occurred in the eighth on a leadoff double from Eric Haase. He was stranded at second base, as the next three batters were retired in order.

Detroit travels to Seattle for a three-game series with the Mariners from Monday through Wednesday. Right-hander Casey Mize starts Monday's 10:10 p.m. series opener, opposed by left-hander Yusei Kikuchi.

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Matthew Boyd strikes out eight

Boyd pitched six innings for the Tigers, giving up five runs (four earned) on six hits and one walk. He had eight strikeouts and threw 69 of his 92 pitches for strikes. While Boyd cruised through the top of Chicago's batting order, the bottom five hitters tagged him in the sixth.

Matt Duffy and David Bote reached with a single and double, respectively, to start the inning and give the Cubs a 3-0 lead. Nico Hoerner's one-out sacrifice fly tacked on another run, and Ian Happ followed with a solo home run to right to make it 5-0.

Happ's home run was just the second this season against Boyd, who paced the major leagues with 39 home runs allowed in 2019 and the AL with 15 in 2020.

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Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd throws against the Cubs during the third inning on Sunday, May 16, 2021, at Comerica Park.
Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd throws against the Cubs during the third inning on Sunday, May 16, 2021, at Comerica Park.

Boyd used eight pitches in the first inning, 14 in the second, 18 in the third, 20 in the fourth, 12 in the fifth and 20 in the sixth. He logged 14 swings and misses: six with his four-seam fastball, three with his changeup and five with his slider.

His pitch mix included 33 fastballs, 24 changeups, 20 sliders, 10 curveballs and five two-seamers.

In the third inning, Bryant grounded into a force out, allowing the Tigers to cut down Willson Contreras at second base. Goodrum's attempt to turn a double play wasn't in time, and first baseman Schoop made a wild throw home to catcher Haase. Ian Happ scored easily from second base for a 1-0 lead.

Happ doubled to center field — after a two-out error from Harold Castro — in the fourth inning to give the Cubs a 2-0 edge. That run did not get charged to Boyd's tab. Happ, hitting ninth, finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs.

Mazara's dive

In the second inning, Duffy smoked a changeup from Boyd to right field. But Mazara, at 6-feet-4, extended to make the catch — robbing Duffy of at least a single, if not extra bases, had the ball bounced underneath Mazara's glove.

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Goodrum's errors continue

Goodrum's miscue in the second inning marked his fifth error in the past nine games at shortstop. On Bote's grounder, Goodrum swiped at the ball. It ricocheted toward third baseman Harold Castro, who didn't have enough time to make a play.

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Boyd finished the inning two pitches later by getting Joc Pederson to ground into a force out.

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Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers can't solve Chicago Cubs, Kyle Hendricks in 5-1 loss