Detroit arrived in the nation's capital in the midst of a six-game losing streak, having dropped three to Cleveland on the road and three to Texas at home before flying to D.C.
Washington returned home from a ten-game road trip that ended with four straight losses in Chicago's Wrigley Field.
Something had to give tonight in Nationals Park, where the Nats started a three-game Interleague set with the visiting Tigers.
Detroit struck the first blow, with third baseman Nick Castellanos, who entered play today with a .450 AVG (36 for 80) vs right-handed pitchers early this season, taking a 96 mph 1-1 heater for a ride for a two-out, two-run home run to left off Stephen Strasburg in the top of the first inning. 2-0 Tigers.
Washington rallied to get within one run in the bottom of the fourth with Anthony Rendon walking, stealing second base and scoring on a two-out RBI single to center by Daniel Murphy, 2-1, but Detroit got another homer off Strasburg in the top of the fifth, with J.D. Martinez taking the right-hander deep to left on a 3-2 fastball for a two-run blast that made it 4-1 Tigers over the Nationals.
Daniel Murphy, who started the night with multi-hit games in 15 of 30 games, connected for his second hit of the night in the sixth, sending a 2-2 slider into the sets above the out-of-town scoreboard in right to get the Nationals within one, 4-3 Tigers. Murphy's 5th home run of 2016.
Strasburg (who reportedly agreed on a 7-year/$175M extension tonight) struck out the side in a 13-pitch seventh in his throwing a 96 mph fastball by J.D. Martinez up high on his 103rd pitch.
He stayed in to hit with runners on the corners and no one out and dropped a bunt in front of the plate that Anibal Sanchez played for some reason and dropped. Sac bunt/E:1. Bases loaded.
Ben Revere sent a sac fly to right in the next at bat that brought Michael A. Taylor in from third to tie it up at 4-4.
Strasburg came back out for the eighth, but was lifted after a leadoff walk to Miguel Cabrera...
Blake Treinen came on and gave up a single to right by Nick Castellanos, but Cabrera was thrown out trying to take third on a wild pitch for out No.1. Justin Upton took a 96 mph 2-2 sinker for a called strike three and out No.2.
Victor Martinez came on as a pinch hitter with the go-ahead run at second, but got the intentionals, and with another lefty due up (Jarrod Saltalamacchia pinch hitting for LHB Anthony Gose), Dusty Baker went to his pen for left-hander Felipe Rivero, who struck Saltalamachia out to end the threat. Still 4-4.
• Stephen Strasburg's Line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 11 Ks, 2 HRs, 107 P, 65 S, 6/2 GO/FO.
Felipe Rivero and Shawn Kelley combined for a scoreless top of the ninth and Clint Robinson hit a walk-off winner! Ballgame! Nats win, 5-4.
Nationals now 20-12
• NATS NOTES:
- Stephen Strasburg reportedly agreed on a 7-year/$175M extension with the Nationals tonight. Washington Post writer Chelsea Janes was the first to report on the deal.
- Detroit started their three-game set in Washington, D.C. in the midst of a six-game losing streak which left them 14-16 overall before the start of the series.
- This week's series between the Nationals and Tigers was the first since 2013.
- The Tigers began the matchup 10-5 all-time vs the Nationals, with a 3-5 record in the nation's capital. The Nats are 2-8 against the Tigers since 2005, with the two wins coming in Nationals Park.
- Tigers' slugger Miguel Cabrera entered play today one double shy of 500 doubles for his career. When he hits No. 500, Cabrera will be the 62nd player in MLB history to reach that milestone.
- Nick Castellanos and Victor Martinez started the series ranked 1st and 9th overall in the American League in AVG vs RHPs, with Castellanos 36 for 80 (.450 AVG) and Martinez 26 for 80 (.325 AVG).
- Bryce Harper set a modern major league record for the most plate appearances in a single game without an at-bat, when he walked six times and reached base via HBP on Sunday.
- With 10 walks, a HBP and sac fly in his last 12 PAs, Harper's streak of consecutive plate appearances without an at-bat is also a modern major league record.
- Harper's 13 walks in four games in Chicago are the most any MLB player has collected in a four-game set since 1913.
- Entering the series opener with the Tigers, Harper had reached base safely by hit, walk and HBP in nine consecutive plate appearances.
- Daniel Murphy collected his 15th multi-hit game of the season on Sunday. His 15 multi-hit games are tied for the most multi-hit games in the majors. He got his 16th multi-hit game when he homered for his second hit of the night in the sixth inning.
- On the season, Murphy had reached base safely in 25 of 30 games this season heading into tonight's game.
Nationals now 20-12