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Detroit Tigers 5-4 over Washington Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman's two-homer night not enough

Ryan Zimmerman hit two home runs tonight in the nation's capital, but the Detroit Tigers evened up the InterLeague series with the Washington Nationals with a 5-4 win in Nats Park. But Zimmerman hit two homers!! #TKCHZ

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Ross gave up two runs on five hits in 6 ⅔ innings in his last start before tonight's, a loss to the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field. After that outing, a reporter told Dusty Baker this afternoon, Cubs' hitters said he was one of the best arms they'd seen early this season. Baker agreed with that assessment.

"I see him as [having] great potential to be an outstanding starter,' the 66-year-old skipper said.

"We've got some pretty good starters. I was told when I got here that this guy has as good stuff as anybody on our staff, so that's good to hear that from the league."

Ross, who has dominated right-handed hitters early in his career (.160/.196/.235 line against) while struggling against lefties (.277/.358/.426), was facing a Detroit Tigers' team that is right-hand heavy, but tonight featured a left-hander (Anthony Gose) and two switch hitters (Victor Martinez and Andrew Romine) who'd be batting from the left side against him.

"Tonight's a good test for him because [the Tigers] are an offensive team that likes fastballs and can hit the ball out of the ballpark," Baker said.

Ross started the night with two scoreless on 23 pitches, giving up only a single by Martinez, and he took the mound in the third with a 1-0 lead courtesy of a bases-loaded, RBI single to right by Danny Espinosa.

After stranding a two-out double in the third, the Tigers got on the board in the fourth with Victor Martinez singling for his second hit off Ross tonight, in front of Nick Castellanos, who took a 1-1 slider for a ride... all the way out to the left field bullpen for a two-run blast that made it 2-1 Detroit.

The home run by Castellanos was the first Ross allowed in 32+ innings this season... it was Castellanos' 7th.

It stayed 2-1 in the Tigers' favor until the fifth when Bryce Harper walked with two down and scored the easy way when Ryan Zimmerman hit a 93 mph 2-0 fastball out to left for a no-doubter, his second home run of the season, 3-2 Nats.

Martinez (3 for 3 vs Ross) singled and Castellanos walked to start the Tigers' sixth, and one out later, with runners on the corners, catcher James McCann sent an opposite field single to right to bring Martinez in and tie it up at 3-3.

Anthony Gose singled to left to load the bases with one down, and a grounder to second by Andrew Romine brought in the go-ahead run as the Tigers retook the lead, 4-3. Gose went in to second well wide of the bag, so Dusty Baker went ahead and challenged the play, hoping it would be ruled an inning-ending DP, but the call on the field was upheld.

Miguel Cabrera hit a pinch hit single to center in the netxt at bat to bring McCann in and the Tigers went up, 5-3.

Joe Ross' Line: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 97 P, 61 S, 8/2 GO/FO.

Sammy Solis got into and out of trouble in the Tigers' seventh, and Ryan Zimmerman's second home run of the night got the Nationals within one, 5-4.

Solis retired the Tigers in order in a nine-pitch eighth, and the Nats threatened to tie it up with Wilson Ramos walking with one down and almost scoring from first on a Clint Robinson double to center, but a perfectly-executed 8-6-2 relay by the Tigers got the slow-footed catcher at the plate. Still 5-4 Detroit.

That's how it ended. Francisco Rodriguez closed out the ninth. Rubber match tomorrow. Max Scherzer vs Jordan Zimmermann at 7:05 PM EDT in D.C.

Nationals now 20-13


  • With last night's win, Washington improved to 3-8 against Detroit since 2005 and 7-10 in franchise history (including the Montreal Expos).
  • Clint Robinson's walk-off blast last night was just the second pinch-hit, walk-off home run in Nationals' history. Michael A. Taylor hit the first last September vs Atlanta.
  • Daniel Murphy collected his 16th multi-hit game of the season in his 31st game in last night's win. Heading into tonight's matchup, he'd hit safely in 9 of his last 11 games, going 20 for 45 (.444 AVG) over that stretch. He singled in the fifth for his second hit of the night and 17th multi-hit games in his first 32 as a Nat.
  • Murphy started the night with the highest average in the majors (.398), with hits in 26 of 31 games so far this season.
  • Tigers' third baseman Nick Castellanos started the night 38 for 84 (.452 AVG) vs RHPs this season, leading all major league hitters in AVG vs RHPs. He hit a two-run home run to left in the fourth inning.
  • Victor Martinez, who pinch hit in last night's game, came into tonight's matchup 26 for 80 vs RHPs (.360 AVG) this season. He was 2 for 2 in his first two at bats, scoring on the home run by Castellanos after singling in the fourth.
  • Miguel Cabrera has dominated Nationals' pitching in his career. He started the night 118 for 328 (.360 AVG) against Washington in his career with 18 doubles, one triple and 21 home runs in 89 games.
  • Nationals' pitchers, as a group, started the day ranked fourth in the majors with a 2.84 ERA on the year.
  • Ryan Zimmerman homered twice, in the 5th and 7th for the 15th multi-homer game of his career.

Nationals now 20-13