The Washington Nationals managed just four hits Sunday afternoon in their 2-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium.
Dan Haren allowed both of the Tigers’ only runs in the second of his four innings pitched, although the first could have arguably been ruled unearned. Prince Fielder hit a fly ball to left and Tyler Moore got a sneak preview of the Nationals Stadium Sun Monster as he lost track of the ball and stood still in position as it dropped in. The play was ruled a hit and, with one out, Jhonny Peralta advanced Fielder on a single to left.
Alex Avila reached first safely on a grounder that scored Fielder and Don Kelly doubled to plate Peralta before Haren could pitch out of the jam.
Rick Porcello, on the other hand, allowed just three singles in five innings pitched – the first of which came off the bat of Bryce Harper in the first inning. With the hit – as well as two fruitless at-bats – Harper is now 13-for-29 this spring, bringing his average to .448.
Matt Skole added a single in the third inning and Tyler Moore hit one with two outs in the fourth.
By the time Drew Storen came on to pitch the fifth inning, enough damage had been done. Nevertheless, Storen, Yunesky Maya, Ryan Mattheus and Cole Kimball combined for four innings of scoreless relief, but Porcello managed to emerge the champion of the Grapefruit League contest.
The Nationals’ only run of the day came off Detroit left-hander Duane Below in the seventh inning.
After Sandy Leon flied out to left, Carlos Rivero drew a walk and Chad Tracy continued his hot streak with a line drive single to center. Zach Walters walked to load the bases with one out and Rivero scored on Skole’s sacrifice fly to center.
The Nationals’ only base runner for the remainder of the game was Rivero once again, who reached on a fielding error by third baseman Argenis Diaz in the ninth inning.