The Cubs scored a run after two bad throws in the eighth inning Tuesday night to beat the Tigers, 4-3, in the opener of a three-game interleague series.
The Tigers twice looked to be out of trouble in the eighth, but shortstop Jhonny Peralta threw high to second base on a force attempt and wide to first base on another grounder, letting a run score.
It came after Detroit had tied the game with a three-run seventh.
Chicago won its second in a row -- and for only the third time in its last 11 games -- while the Tigers had a two-game winning streak snapped.
Darwin Barney started the Cubs' rally by drawing one of their seven walks in the game. Pinch-hitter Reed Johnson singled with two outs and Phil Coke (1-3) got Tony Campana to ground to Peralta, but his throw sailed high and Ramon Santiago didn't step cleanly on the bag at second.
Starlin Castro was then safe on a bouncer to Peralta when first baseman Prince Fielder was pulled off the bag by the throw, scoring Barney for the go-ahead run.
"I knew for a fact that the guy was out at first base," said Coke.
Peralta was given an error on both plays, but Cubs manager Dale Sveum was still pleased by his team's hustle.
"I know our record ain't that good, but these guys are running out every ball," said Sveum.
Cubs starter Paul Maholm left with a 3-0 lead but only after putting the first two runners on base in Detroit's three-run seventh. He was charged with two runs on six hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in his six-plus innings.
Carlos Marmol (1-2) got two outs in the eighth to pick up the win and Shawn Camp threw a perfect ninth for his first save of the season.
Max Scherzer allowed three runs on five hits and five walks in six innings for the Tigers, striking out eight.
The win came after the Cubs fired hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo and named James Rowson interim hitting coach earlier on Tuesday.
Bryan LaHair drew a four-pitch walk leading off the second inning, went to third on Steve Clevenger's single and a Scherzer wild pitch and scored on Barney's ground out for a 1-0 Cubs lead.
Chicago pushed its lead to 3-0 in the sixth despite Alfonso Soriano being picked off first base by Scherzer. Barney hit a two-run double to the left field corner to score David DeJesus and Clevenger, who had both walked.
But the Tigers tied the game and chased Maholm during their three-run seventh.
After Delmon Young doubled and Peralta walked, Casey Coleman came in for Maholm with no outs. He got Gerald Laird on a fly ball but pinch-hitter Quintin Berry walked and another pinch-hitter, Santiago, smacked a bases- loaded single into right to score the first run.
Austin Jackson followed with a two-run single to left field, tying the game.
The Tigers have won eight straight over the Cubs, whose last win in the series came on July 7, 2001...Maholm is winless (0-3) in his last six starts.