6/14 Extra bases
Thursday’s crowd of 42,292 was the biggest of the season at Wrigley Field. The Cubs-Tigers series drew 124,782, the largest mid-week, three-game series in the ballpark’s history.
“I love it here,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “It’s a great atmosphere. I’ve always said a Cubs game is more than a game, it’s a happening. It’s kind of a neat atmosphere. Fortunately, we came in and won two out of three.”
That’s what happened, unfortunately for the Cubs, who lost, 5-2, on Thursday.
* Leyland was impressed by the Cubs middle infield of Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro.
“[Barney] had a hell of a series against us,” Leyland said of the second baseman, who is riding a five-game hitting streak. “He didn’t do anything wrong against us.”
As for Castro, Leyland said: “That shortstop looks like he’s going to be a superstar to me. I’m just looking, but he looks to me like he’s got a chance to be a superstar. That kid Castro is smooth, doesn’t panic, got some power.”
* Tigers ace Justin Verlander struck out eight and wanted to make sure Tony Campana wasn’t running around the bases.
“He gets on base and wreaks havoc,” Verlander said. “That’s the guy, for me, today, that I focused on.”
Said Campana: “My first at-bat, he was throwing it seemed like B.P. fastballs, they were like 90 miles an hour, and sometimes you look up at the board and he was throwing 97 [mph]. Adding and subtracting, that keeps us off-balance — that’s good pitching.”
* Travis Wood (0-3) took the loss in his fourth career Interleague start. He allowed the leadoff batter to reach in each of his seven innings pitched, but limited the Tigers to two hits in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position. He also induced three double play balls.
* Alfonso Soriano has hit in 10 straight games. It’s his 17th career hitting streak of at least 10 games. He’s batting .314 with seven doubles, 12 homers, 24 RBIs and a .735 slugging percentage since May 15.
* Next up are the Red Sox. Dale Sveum was a coach there for two seasons, including 2004 when they won a World Series. But only David Ortiz and Kevin Youkillis remain.
“To me, it’s no different from any other series,” Sveum said. “You’re playing an American League team, you’re playing a good offense. You prepare for them like any other.”
Friday: Ryan Dempster (2-3, 2.31) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-1, 7.20)
Saturday: Jeff Samardzija (5-4, 3.96) vs. Jon Lester (3-4, 4.57)
Sunday: Paul Maholm (4-5, 4.91) vs. Josh Beckett (4-7, 4.14)
— Carrie Muskat