When you compare Sunday’s combined pitching lines for the Washington Nationals with those from Monday’s matchup against the Detroit Tigers, at first glance, you might find it hard to determine which rotation recorded a win for “K Street.”
Washington came away with a 5-1 loss Monday at Space Coast Stadium, despite the fact that Jordan Zimmermann retired 18 batters in a row over six scoreless innings. He threw just 67 pitches in a day’s work, allowed only one hit – a leadoff single by Andy Dirks in the first inning – struck out one and walked no one.
Much to the Nationals’ dismay, however, the Tigers also enjoyed a strong outing from starter Max Scherzer, who allowed just one run in the form of a solo shot off the bat of Adam LaRoche in the fourth inning. Scherzer also gave up five hits and one walk in five innings pitched.
The trouble point for the Nationals came when Rafael Soriano took the mound at the top of the seventh. Soriano gave up a leadoff single to Torii Hunter – who has produced off Nats’ pitching this spring – and Tyler Collins entered the game as a pinch-runner. Miguel Cabrera hit a fly ball to center to advance Collins on the first out, and Prince Fielder batted in Collins with a single up the middle.
Soriano then walked Victor Martinez and gave up yet another single to Alex Avila, who drove in pinch-runner Matt Tulasosopo. After Don Kelly hit a fly ball to Jayson Werth for the second out, Omar Infante singled to plate Martinez and advance pinch-runner Bryan Holaday to third.
Ramon Santiago roped the fifth single of the inning to left field and the Tigers took a 4-1 lead.
The Nats struggled to make contact off the Tigers’ Luis Marte and Brayan Villarreal. Wilson Ramos was left stranded in the seventh after grounding safely to take first and Denard Span found himself stuck on first in the eighth after leading off with a line drive up the middle.
Henry Rodriguez handed Detroit an insurance run – in the form of two walks, a hit-by-pitch and a sacrifice fly by Collins, but prevented anyone else from rounding the bases.
Danny Espinosa singled with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but Carlos Maldonado went down on strikes to close out the Tigers’ 5-1 win.
Winning pitcher: Bruce Rondon – 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K
Losing Pitcher: Rafael Soriano – 0.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 0 K
Honorable Mention: Jordan Zimmermann – 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K
Next game: Wednesday, 1:05 p.m. at Marlins