Washington Nationals 12-10 Over Detroit Tigers: Ross Detwiler Sharp In Return From WBC, Bullpen? Not So Much

USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals' left-hander Ross Detwiler had an impressive outing in his return to Grapefruit League action, but the Nats' bullpen had issues and it turned into a slugfest with the Detroit Tigers that ended with the Nationals winning 12-10 in a three and a half hour game...

An infield single in the first left 25-year-old Washington Nationals' second baseman Danny Espinosa 13 for 42 so far in Grapefruit League action, and the Nats' infielder stole second without a throw. 2 SBs this Spring for Espi and we're underway in the Sunday matinee. Detroit Tigers' lefty Drew Smyly retired the next three Nationals in order, however and stranded Espinosa at third in the top of the first of today's Grapefruit League game in Lakeland, Florida's Joker Marchant Stadium. 26-year-old Nats' left-hander Ross Detwiler gave up two hard-hit balls in the bottom of the first, with Tigers' outfielder Austin Jackson lining out to Steve Lombardozzi at third third and Torii Hunter taking Detwiler deep for a solo home run that soared out to left to give the Tigers an early 1-0 lead on the defending NL East champs and their '07 1st Round pick. 1-0 Tigers after one. 11-pitch first for Detwiler according to the Twitter.

Kurt Suzuki hit a one-out, wind-aided double to left-center in the Nationals' second, leaving the Nats' 29-year-old backstop 6 for 22 with three doubles so far this Spring. Suzuki scored to tie it at 1-1 when Hairy-Chested Bench Bat Chad Tracy singled to center off Smyly. 7 for 32 for Tracy in Grapefruit League action. Tie game with the Tigers after one and a half. Ross Detwiler left a change up in the zone to Omar Infante and the All-Star infielder hit a two-out single to left to keep the home-half of the second alive for one more batter. Alex Avila's grounder back to the mound ended Detwiler's second inning of work with the score still tied at 1-1.

Steve Lombardozzi and Bryce Harper were the fourth and fifth Nationals to strike out for the second and third outs of Tigers' lefty Drew Smyly's scoreless third inning in Joker Marchant (Mar-chent, not Mar-shant) Stadium. Austin Jackson flew to left and took second on Micah Owings as the Nats' outfielder took a little too much time recovering the ball. Two outs later, Jackson was stranded at second when Ross Detwiler got a groundout to short from Torii Hunter and a swinging K from Miguel Cabrera to end a relatively quick bottom of the third.

Nats' outfielder Tyler Moore was 11 for 45 with 2 HRs in Grapefruit League action after a leadoff (wind-aided) blast to left off the #Tigers' Drew Smyly in the top of the fourth that made it 2-1 Nationals. Ian Desmond doubled for the first time this Spring in the next at bat, leaving the Nats' shortstop 1 for 2 vs Smyly today and 11 for 38 so far in Florida. After Kurt Suzuki walked, Chad Tracy flew to left for out no.1, but a bloop single to right center by Chris Marrero gave the Nationals a 3-1 lead. A grounder to third by Micah Owings brought Kurt Suzuki in to make it 4-1. Danny Espinosa's second hit in three ABs brought Marrero around to make it 5-1 Nationals after four and a half.

Ross Detwiler issued his first walk of the day to Victor Martinez when he missed high with a full-count fastball with one down in the Tigers' fourth, but Detwiler got a 4-6-3 DP (Espinosa to Desmond to Marrero) off Andy Dirks' bat in the next AB to preserve the Nationals' four run lead through four. 53 pitches for Detwiler according to the Twitter. 5-1 Nats.

Bryce Harper just missed making it a six-run lead when he doubled off the top of the center field wall some 420 ft from home for a long two-bagger and his first hit in three at bats today. 1 for 3 today, 18 for 44, three doubles and three home runs for Harper so far this Spring. Tyler Moore followed Harper's double up with an opposite field blast that got caught on the wind and soared out for the Nats' slugger's second home run of the game. 7-1 Nationals. 2 for 3 today for Moore, 12 for 46 with 3 HRs so far this Spring.

Former Tigers' '08 1st Round pick Ryan Perry took over Ross Detwiler in the bottom of the fifth. 4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 57 pitches, 34 strikes for Detwiler in his first start back after pitching in the WBC. 7-1 Nationals after five when Perry sets his former team down in order in the bottom of the fifth. Tigers' reliever Joaquin Benoit gave up a leadoff walk and an infield single in the sixth, but Carlos Rivero flew out to end the top of the inning.

Ryan Perry issued a leadoff walk to Tigers' outfielder Quintin Berry in the bottom of the sixth, then hit Torii Hunter in the hand in the next at bat. Another walk to Miguel Cabrera loaded the bases and earned Perry a Chat with the Cat. A fastball followed the meeting on the mound (mais, bien sur) and Prince Fielder lined it to center for a two-run single that made it 7-3 Nats. Make that 7-5 as Victor Martinez drove in some pinch runners with a double to right. Jeremy Accardo replaced Perry and gave up a single by Andy Dirks to bring 21-year-old Tigers' infielder Hernan Perez up with runners on the corner with no outs. A sac fly by Perez scored Martinez and Dirks came in when Alex Avila doubled in the next at bat. 7-7 game. Danny Worth took the third walk of the inning, the first by Accardo, to put runners on first and second with one down. Pinch hitter Don Kelly K'd looking and 22-year-old Tigers' prospect Tyler Collins grounded to second to end the six-run bottom of the sixth with the score tied at 7-7.

Ian Desmond was 2 for 4 today and 12 for 40 in 15 games after singling off Phil Coke to start the seventh. Desmond was lifted for pinch runner Josh Johnson. Jhonatan Solano "singled" through Tigers' third baseman Kevin Russo to put two on with no one out and Carlos Maldonado at the plate. Maldonado K'd swinging and Chris Marrero lined out for the first two outs of the inning, but Micah Owings came through with his first hit in three at bats today, driving Josh Johnson in to give the Nationals an 8-7 lead. Owings 1 for 3 today after six innings, and 10 for 24 this Spring. Solano tried to score when Zach Walters singled in the next at bat, but the Nats' catcher was cut down at the plate. 3 outs. 8-7 Nationals after six and a half.

Ryan Mattheus issued the fifth walk of the day by Nats' pitchers to Kevin Russo in the Tigers' seventh then promptly surrendered a two-run blast by Matt Tuiasosopo that gave Detroit a 9-8 lead after seven. Detroit right-hander Al Albuequerque gave up a one-out walk to Corey Brown and allowed him to steal second. One out and one walk to Josh Johnson later, Brown scored on an RBI single by Jhonatan Solano. 9-9 game. A walk to Carlos Maldonado moved Johnson to third and Solano to second to load the bases and end Albuquerque's afternoon. Chris Marrero stepped in against 28-year-old Tigers' lefty Darin Downs... and singled to center on a two-run RBI hit. 11-9 Nats and an error on a Micah Owings grounder to second makes it 12-9 after the Nationals' second 4-run inning of the game.

Tyler Clippard allowed two runners on, but completed the bottom of the eighth with the Nats' 12-9 lead in tact. Darin Downs came back out for the top of the ninth and kept the Tigers within three with a scoreless inning of work in relief. Nationals' prospect Erik Davis came out to close it in the ninth and promptly surrendered a double by Matt Tuiasosopo that soared over Jhonatan Solano's head in left field. Yes, that Jhonatan Solano. 12-10 Nats when Tuiasosopo scores on a single by former Nats' prospect Jeff Kobernus, and Erik Davis retired the next three Tigers in order to mercifully end the game. 12-10 Nationals win.

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