Washington Nationals Drop 4-2 Decision To Detroit Tigers: Ian Desmond Collects Three Hits.

• Tiger 4, Nats 2: Quick Game Report - 22-year-old Tigers' right-hander Rick Porcello held Washington scoreless through four, surrendering just two singles to Ian Desmond and another to Michael Morse. Nationals' right-hander Jason Marquis retired the Tigers in order in the first, then issued a one-out walk to Tigers' catcher Victor Martinez in the second before a double play grounder ended the inning. A one-out walk in the third, however, cost Marquis his first earned run of the Spring when Cale Iorg's RBI double scored Ryan Streiby from first.

After a 1-2-3 5th, Marquis had given up three hits and two walks while recording four K's and he'd collected seven groundouts and three flyouts to end the outing with 12 K's in 12.0 Spring innings pitched in which the 32-year-old Nats' starter has now given up six hits, one earned run and three walks. Down a run in the fifth, the Nationals tied it up at 1-1 when a one-out single by Pudge Rodriguez and two-out single by Nyjer Morgan chased Porcello, the Tigers' '07 1st Round pick from the game and set Ian Desmond up for his third single of the day and first RBI. 

Todd Coffey sprinted to the mound in the sixth, recorded two outs and imploded, promptly surrendering a two-out double to Magglio Ordonez and a two-out single to Brennan Boesch before Victor Martinez's three-run HR made it 4-1 Tigers. Washington rallied for a run in the ninth on an RBI groundout by Danny Espinosa but that's as close a the Nats would get. Doug Slaten, Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen followed Coffey up with three scoreless in which only Slaten allowed a hit. Ian Desmond ended up 3 for 4 with an RBI and the Nats' 25-year-old shortstop's 11 for 35 with a double, triple and 4 RBI's in 11 games this Spring.

• Nyjer Morgan struck out in his first two at bats, but ended up 2 for 4 with two singles, though he once again made center field an adventure, chasing down Ordonez's double off Todd Coffey only to come up short in the end and letting a fly ball fall in front of him in the next at bat according to those in attendance, including MASN's Ben Goessling who reiterated today in his game report entitled, "Marquis done for the day, Tigers lead Nationals 4-1", that the Nationals, "are having him play a shallower center field," resulting in some interesting routes and near misses by the center fielder over the last couple games.

With Morgan's defense and base stealing undergoing alterations guided by Bo Porter and Hitting Coach Rick Eckstein reworking his approach at the plate, the 30-year-old outfielder's being given every opportunity to prove he's an everyday major leaguer and the Nats' center fielder. Nats' Skipper Jim Riggleman has said all winter he believes Morgan's more of a .280 AVG/.350 OBP player than the .253/.319 player he was for Washington last season, and D.C. GM Mike Rizzo said he'd get every opportunity to be the leadoff man the Nats need. He's got 17 days to prove he is...

• Michael Morse singled in his first at bat, but was erased by Wilson Ramos' double play grounder. 1 for 4 on the day, Morse is now sporting a .469/.486/1.000 Spring slash line with two doubles and five HR's in 10 games and 32 at bats... 

• It's back to the box scores tomorrow as lefty Tom Gorzelanny and the Nats take on the NY Mets. No radio or TV coverage is available.

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