Live Tigers blog: Nats' Robinson hits walk-off home run
FINAL: Nationals 5, Tigers 4
One batter after Bryce Harper was tossed for arguing a strike three call on Danny Espinosa from the bench, pinch-hitting Clint Robinson turned on a Mark Lowe offering and hit a walk-off home run to right field to give the Nats' a 5-4 win over the the Tigers, who suffered their seventh consecutive loss.
Things have gotten bad for the Tigers and there is seemingly no answers as they let a 4-1 lead slip away in the late innings.
Stephen Strasburg gave up two long balls to Nick Castellanos and J.D. Martinez, but he struck out 11 Tigers and kept his team in the game late.
Anibal Sanchez wasn't bad, but he was that great either. Flashes of brilliance were once again derailed by moments of ineptitude. His final line reads six innings pitched, six hits, four earned runs, three walks and two strikeouts.
Brad Ausmus will no doubt be questioned for his management of the lineup in the eighth inning and for leaving a gimpy Miguel Cabrera out at second base when he was seemingly on one leg and representing the go-ahead run.
Top 9th: Tigers 4, Nationals 4
Jose Iglesias popped out, pinch-hitting Mike Aviles struck out on three pitches and Ian Kinsler popped out on the first pitch he saw.
Felipe Rivero stayed in for the first two Tigers hitters of the inning before Shawn Kelly was brought in to face Kinsler.
Bottom 8th: Tigers 4, Nationals 4
Alex Wilson continues to be this blogger's favorite pitcher in the Tigers bullpen.
Wilson, after coming up big in a sticky situation in the seventh, was able to set the Nationals down in order in the eighth inning.
Daniel Murphy flew out, Wilson Ramos grounded out and Michael Taylor popped up for an easy 1-2-3 inning for Wilson.
Top 8th: Tigers 4, Nationals 4
Stephen Strasburg's night came to an end after issuing a four-pitch walk to Miguel Cabrera to leadoff the inning.
That's when things got interesting.
Nick Castellanos dropped a single into right field and Cabrera, waiting to make sure the ball dropped, had to hustle to second base, where he slid in safe but came up with a limp and grimace on his face. Brad Ausmus elected to leave Miggy in the game, and as fate would have it, Nats' reliever Blake Treinen threw a wild pitch on his next toss. The ball was well behind the plate and Cabrera was thrown out at third.
Castellanos moved up to second, but Justin Upton struck out for the second out of the inning. Victor Martinez, pinch-hitting for James McCann, was given a free pass to first base. Jarrod Saltalamacchia came in to pinch-hit for Anthony Gose, but the Nats' went to the bullpen and got lefty Felipe Rivero to turn Salty around to his less dangerous side of the plate. Rivero struck out Saltalamacchia to get out of the jam.
Tough break for the Tigers. Cabrera didn't look good and Ausmus should have pulled him. The big man isn't fleet of foot as it is, but you don't leave him in there to either hurt himself even more or potentially be thrown out trying to move up to third or score.
It's also worth noting that Aumus wasted Martinez in this inning, pinch-hitting him with a base open. Had he used Salty for McCann, Victor would still be available to pinch-hit later on.
Bottom 7th: Tigers 4, Nationals 4
Brad Ausmus wanted to leave Anibal Sanchez in for one more inning, but the Tigers starter just couldn't deliver late against the Nationals.
Danny Espinosa singled and Michael Taylor did the same, putting runners on the corners with nobody out for Stephen Strasburg, who laid down a bunt to give himself up. Problem is, Sanchez mishandled the ball and Strasburg reached, leading to a bases loaded situation.
Sanchez got the hook in favor of Kyle Ryan, who gave up a sacrifice fly to Ben Revere, tying the game 4-4 and moving Taylor up to third base.
Alex Wilson was the next man up out of the bullpen and he did his job, striking out Anthony Rendon on three pitches. That made the decision to walk Bryce Harper intentionally and load the bases for Ryan Zimmerman an easy one. Zimmerman popped out to end the inning.
Top 7th: Tigers 4, Nationals 3
Stephen Strasburg continues to get better as this game wears on, striking out the side in the seventh and six of the last seven Tigers hitters.
This time around, Anibal Sanchez, Ian Kinsler and J.D. Martinez were the victims.
There's that easy inning I was talking about. By throwing just 13 pitches, Strasburg could be back out for the eighth. He's on fire right now. His K count is up to 11.
Bottom 6th: Tigers 4, Nationals 3
Daniel Murphy turned on a slider from Anibal Sanchez for a two-run home run and just like that, the Tigers are up by just a run, 4-3.
J.D. Martinez made a nice running grab to rob Anthony Rendon of extra bases to leadoff the sixth inning.
Bryce Harper walked with one out before Anibal Sanchez got Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a fielder's choice, which was almost a double play, but Zimmerman beat the throw to first. That proved to be huge in giving the Nats another out to play with.
That was a huge play by Martinez to start the inning. If not for that play, this game could easily find the Tigers tied or trailing.
Sanchez was having himself a really nice game until that home run by Murphy. He's now thrown 82 pitches through six innings. We'll see him back out there for the seventh.
Top 6th: Tigers 4, Nationals 1
If there's one thing Stephen Strasburg is doing well tonight, it's striking out Tigers.
Strasburg picked up his second and third consecutive punch outs by getting McCann to go down swinging while freezing Anthony Gose with a devastating change up.
Jose Iglesias grounded out to end the inning.
Strasburg has eight strikeouts tonight, but he's been burned by the long ball twice and thrown 90 pitches. Unless he has a quick and tidy seventh inning, it's hard to see how he pitches past the next frame.
Bottom 5th: Tigers 4, Nationals 1
Anibal Sanchez did a nice job bouncing back from his toughest inning of the night and rewarding his team for getting him a couple more runs, setting the Nationals down in order in the fifth.
Sanchez got Danny Espinosa to line out to second base, Stephen Strasburg to ground out to the same spot and Ben Revere to fly out to left field.
That's exactly what the Tigers needed. Sanchez appears ready to pitch deep into this game if he can avoid another lengthy innings. He's tossed 65 pitches over five innings, giving up just three hits and two walks while striking out two.
Top 5th: Tigers 4, Nationals 1
The top of the Tigers order went to work in the fifth inning as Ian Kinsler singled to right field and J.D. Martinez crushed a ball to left field to give the Tigers a 4-1 lead on Stephen Strasburg.
The Tigers have gotten to Strasburg for six hits and two walks, despite striking out six times.
Both Martinez' and Castellanos' home runs have come on fastballs, which the Tigers hit well with regularity, especially against right-handed pitching.
The next three Tigers hitters went down in order, but the Tigers have found a way against one of the better pitchers in baseball to get four runs. It's up to the Anibal Sanchez to hold the lead until a possible appearance from the bullpen later on.
Bottom 4th: Tigers 2, Nationals 1
Anibal Sanchez labored for the first time tonight, struggling his second time through the Nationals lineup and giving up a run before ultimately keeping the Tigers ahead through the fourth.
Daniel Murphy fought off a pitch and dropped one into shallow center field to score Anthony Rendon from second base and cut the Tigers lead to 2-1.
Sanchez walked Wilson Ramos to put men on first and second with two out, but he was able to get Michael Taylor to fly out to end the inning.
The Nationals got their first runner into scoring position after Rendon swiped second base as Sanchez struck out Bryce Harper.
Rendon had drawn a leadoff walk and Harper took strike three as Rendon made his way to second. Ryan Zimmerman grounded out to third for the inning's second out.
Sanchez has thrown 54 pitches through four innings. He's still in pretty good shape.
Top 4th: Tigers 2, Nationals 0
Anthony Gose was able to pull one down the right field line for a two-out double off of Stephen Strasburg.
Unfortunately, this is the National League, and the Nationals walked Jose Iglesias to get to Anibal Sanchez, who laid down a pretty good bunt and nearly got a base hit out of it, but Anthony Rendon made a nice barehanded grab and toss to the bag to get the Tigers starter.
The Tigers are doing a decent job of putting men on base against Strasburg. They're still going to have to find a way to get one or two more guys across the plate to give their pitchers a chance.
Justin Upton flew out to center field to leadoff the inning and James McCann struck out.
Bottom 3rd: Tigers 2, Nationals 0
Stephen Strasburg has the hardest hit ball of the night for the Nationals, stroking a one-out single to center field for his team's second hit of the night.
Anibal Sanchez wasn't phased, getting a double play ball off the bat of Ben Revere to end the inning.
Sanchez picked up his first strikeout of the night by punching out Danny Espinoza to leadoff the inning.
Top 3rd: Tigers 2, Nationals 0
J.D. Martinez notched a two-out single to left field and Miguel Cabrera followed with one of his own, setting the stage for the hot-hitting Nick Castellanos with ducks on the pond.
Stephen Strasburg won the battle this time, striking out Catellanos on a breaking ball in the dirt.
Anibal Sanchez nearly dropped a single down the right field line to leadoff the inning, but he ultimately had to settle for a fly out to right field. Not too bad for a pitcher in the batters box against Strasburg.
Ian Kinsler flew out for the second out of the inning.
Bottom 2nd: Tigers 2, Nationals 0
Anibal Sanchez has looked good early on. The Nationals notched a softly-struck two-out single off the bat of Wilson Ramos in the second inning, but Sanchez came back to get Michael Taylor to fly out to end the inning.
Ryan Zimmerman grounded out and Daniel Murphy flew out to center field for the first two outs of the inning.
Sanchez is keeping hitters of balance and mixing his pitches nicely early on.
Top 2nd: Tigers 2, Nationals 0
Stephen Strasburg bounced back with an easy, breezy second inning.
James McCann grounded out, Anthony Gose became the righty's third strikeout victim and Jose Iglesias grounded out.
The Tigers got to Strasburg early, which is what they needed to do, but they will have to find a way to gets a couple more runs before all is said and done. They can't expect a struggling Sanchez to throw a shutout against this potent lineup he's up against.
Bottom 1st: Tigers 2, Nationals 0
So far, so good for Anibal Sanchez, who set the Nationals down in order in the first inning.
Ben Revere grounded out, Anthony Rendon flew out to right field, where J.D. Martinez made a nice sliding grab, and the always dangerous Bryce Harper grounded out back to the mound.
Getting off to a good start hasn't been a problem for Sanchez. He needs to stay dialed in, especially the second time through the order.
Top 1st: Tigers 2, Nationals 0
Nick Castellanos has been a bright spot for a struggling Tigers squad. Tonight, he's at it again, taking National's starter Stephen Strasburg, deep to left field with two outs to give the Tigers an early 2-0 lead.
Strasburg had given up just one home run entering tonight, but Castellanos just continues to rake.
Ian Kinsler drew a four-pitch walk to leadoff the game before Strasburg came back to strike out J.D. Martinez and get Miguel Cabrera to bounce into a fielder's choice.
Strasburg had been staying away from the Tigers first three hitters. The first time he came inside, Castellanos made him pay.
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. J.D. Martinez, RF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. Nick Castellanos, 3B
5. Justin Upton, LF
6. James McCann, C
7. Anthony Gose, CF
8. Jose Iglesias, SS
9. Anibal Sanchez, P
1. Ben Revere, LF
2. Anthony Rendon, 3B
3. Bryce Harper, RF
4. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
5. Daniel Murphy, 2B
6. Wilson Ramos, C
7. Michael Taylor, CF
8. Danny Espinosa, SS
9. Stephen Strasburg, P
TIGERS VS. NATIONALS
When: Monday, 7:05 p.m.
Where: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
Pitching matchup: RHP Anibal Sanchez (3-3, 5.87) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (5-0, 2.36)
Local TV: Fox Sports Detroit
National TV: ESPN
Internet streaming: MLB.TV
Local radio: 97.1 FM
Satellite radio: SIRI Internet 849