The Tigers and Nationals faced off on Friday in a spring training matchup that brought very little pitching success and 18 combined runs between the two teams.
Taylor Jordan, a contender for the fifth and final spot in the Nationals rotation, started on the hill for the Nats and was hit hard. Jordan retired the side in the first after giving up a hit to Torii Hunter. Jordan got out of another jam in the second inning after allowing a double and hitting Rajai Davis. He was able to get Hernan Perez to ground out to end the inning.
In the third, however, the trouble finally caught up to Jordan and he was unable to escape. First, Ian Kinsler hit a ground-rule double to left field. Hunter then singled him home. After a Miguel Cabrera single, Victor Martinez singled home Hunter, and Austin Jackson doubled to bring Martinez around as well. Finally, Nick Castellanos singled to bring home Jackson. Taylor eventually got Davis to ground out, but the damage had been done as Detroit scored a total of four runs in the inning.
The Nats’ lineup today included only two projected Opening Day starters, but even without their normal arsenal the team was able to put some runs on the board. In the first inning, Anthony Rendon singled to left. Nate McClouth followed with a double bringing home Rendon. Scott Hairston and Jose Lobaton could not keep the momentum going, however, and the Nats did not score again until the fourth inning. In the fourth, McLouth led off, singled and then stole second base. After a Scott Hairston strike out, Jose Lobaton advanced McLouth on a fly out and then Tyler Moore brought him home with a homer, making the score 4-3 in the middle of the fourth inning.
Luis Ayala took over the mound in the bottom of the fourth but could not slow down the Detroit lineup. In fact, he did not make it through a full inning. After an Kinsler single, Hunter followed with a double to center scoring Kinsler. Next, Cabrea and Martinez both singled sending Hunter home and Cabrera to second. Alex Avila singled to load the bases. Jackson then hit a groundball to Zach Walters who threw out Martinez at third, allowing Cabrera to score on the play. Castellanos then singled home Avila, sending Jackson to second base and Ayala to the bench. Zach Jackson replaced him, but he gave up yet another run before getting Perez to ground out to stop the bleeding with the score Detroit 9, Washington 3.
In the top of the fifth the Nats chipped away at the deficit. Walters singled and then Jamey Carroll tripled to drive him home. After a Detroit pitching change, Anthony Rendon put a ball in play which allowed Carroll to score and trim the lead to 9-5.
Drew Storen replaced Jackson in the bottom of the fifth and with that most of the starters were replaced in the game as well. Storen let up two hits, but was able to get out the jam without letting up a run. Side note: Storen has not looked strong this spring after an inconsistent year last year. It will be interesting to see how he performs when the real season starts as it may determine his future with the team.
Hairston homered in the top of the sixth, but that was the closest the Nats would get as the team allowed two more runs in the bottom of the eighth making the final score Detroit 12, Washington 6.
- Nate McLouth had a solid game going 2 for 3 with an RBI, a run, and a stolen base. He has played well so far for the Nationals this spring, which is important because of the depth and defensive prowess he brings to the team.
- Taylor Jordan had a rough outing allowing seven hits and four earned runs in only three innings of work. It appears that the fifth and final rotation spot is still wide open.
- Former National Steve Lombardozzi entered the game as a DH replacement and went 0-1 in the game. Sad to see Lombo in a different uniform.