Live Tigers blog: Tigers end skid with win in D.C.

Geoff Robinson
The Detroit News
Tigers' Nick Castellanos (9) celebrates his two-run home run with Victor Martinez during the fourth inning.

FINAL: TIGERS 5, NATIONALS 4

In the ninth, Francisco Rodriguez took the mound for the Tigers and had to work out of a jam to earn the save.

Ben Revere grounded out to second for the first out of the inning. Anthony Rendon doubled to the left field gap and left Brad Ausmus with a decision to make. He elected to walk Bryce Harper in favor of facing Zimmerman, and that proved to be the right call as Rodriguez struck out Zimmerman with a nasty breaking ball.

The Nationals were down to Daniel Murphy, who since breaking out with the Mets during their run to the World Series last October, has been one of the best hitters in baseball. Rodriguez got Murphy to fly out to center field to end the ballgame and end the Tigers losing streak at seven game with a 5-4 win over the Nationals.

Nick Castellanos played long ball for the second night in a row and the Tigers answered losing their lead with a three-run sixth that powered them to victory.

The bullpen was solid. The only blemish was Ryan Zimmerman's second home run of the night, this one coming off Drew VerHagen in the seventh inning.

Michael Fulmer had a decent night on the bump for the Tigers, though he still shows signs of growing pains. One moment, he's in complete command of the strike zone. The next, he's giving up a two-run home run to Zimmerman. His final line was five innings pitched, seven hits, three earned runs, three walks and six strikeouts.

Miguel Cabrera didn't start tonight, but he did deliver a big RBI in the sixth as a pinch-hitter. That RBI proved to be the winning run.

Now is the time for the Tigers to build on this win and take the series against Max Scherzer tomorrow. It's a tall order, but this team is desperate to string together some wins and get out of this funk.

Top 9th: Tigers 5, Nationals 4

J.D. Martinez fouled off a lot of pitches from Nats' reliever Shawn Kelly, but Kelly ultimately won the battle, striking Martinez out to leadoff the ninth.

Victor Martinez, who had been 4-for-4, popped out for the inning's second out. Nick Castellanos struck out to end the inning.

It's closer Francisco Rodriguez about to take the mound for the Tigers against the top of the Nationals' order.

Bottom 8th: Tigers 5, Nationals 4

Clint Robinson tried to do it to the Tigers again, but the Tigers nabbed Wilson Ramos at the plate as he tried to go first-to-home on a double to the gap by Robinson, who hit last night's walk-off home run.

Anthony Gose hit Andrew Romine right in the chest and that allowed the Tigers shortstop to turn around and fire a bullet to James McCann to get Ramos.

With setup man Mark Lowe having pitched (poorly) in three consecutive games, Alex Wilson got the call out of the Tigers bullpen in the eighth.

Ramos reached base for the fourth time tonight with a one-out single, but Wilson got the next out by getting Danny Espinosa to fly out to center field

What a great baseball play by Gose and Romine. That was teamwork at its finest. Wilson was, understandably, thrilled with his defense after the play.

Top 8th: Tigers 5, Nationals 4

Andrew Romine struck out swinging, pinch-hitting Mike Aviles flew out to right field and Ian Kinsler struck out as the Tigers went down in order in the eighth inning against Nats reliever Sammy Solis.

Bottom 7th: Tigers 5, Nationals 4

Drew VerHagen rewarded an interesting decision by Brad Ausmus to leave him in against the left-handed Bryce Harper, striking out one of the best hitters in the game with a nasty breaking ball in the dirt for the inning's second out. Unfortunately, VerHagen left one up to Ryan Zimmerman, who hit his second home run of the night to pull the Nats within a run at 5-4.

VerHagen got the first out of the inning against right-hander Anthony Rendon, getting the Nats third baseman to ground out. With Justin Wilson warmed up in the bullpen, it looked like the perfect spot to bring the lefty in with Harper coming to the dish.

At first, it worked, but VerHagen couldn't get that third out against the right-handed Zimmerman.

Wilson came on to face Daniel Murphy and finished the inning off by striking him out.

Top 7th: Tigers 5, Nationals 3

James McCann got a free pass to first base to load the bases for the Tigers, but Anthony Gose couldn't come through, popping out to end the threat against Nats reliever Sammy Solis.

Victor Martinez just continues to take what the National pitchers are giving him, notching his fourth single of the night to give the Tigers a one-out baserunner.

Nick Castellanos drew a walk and Justin Upton popped out before McCann's walk juiced the bases for Gose.

The Tigers could have used some insurance runs here given how bad the bullpen has been lately. Hopefully, it doesn't come back to bite them later on.

Bottom 6th: Tigers 5, Nationals 3

Wilson Ramos drew a leadoff walk off Tigers reliever Drew VerHagen, but VerHagen bounced back to strike out Danny Espinosa.

Anthony Gose made a sliding catch to rob the pinch-hitting Stephen Drew of a base hit and Ben Revere grounded out to end the inning.

Gose will be the hero of the sixth as Drew absolutely smoked that ball to center field.

Top 6th: Tigers 5, Nationals 3

James McCann shot a ball through the right side of the infield to bring home Victor Martinez and tie the game, 3-3.

Anthony Gose kept the good vibes going, dropping a single into left field to load the bases for Andrew Romine, who grounded into a fielder's choice, which was good enough to score the run from third base and give the Tigers a 4-3 advantage.

With runners on the corners, Miguel Cabrera made a pinch-hitting appearance in the pitcher's spot. The big man did his job, dropping a single into center field and stretching the lead to 5-3.

Ian Kinsler flew out to end the inning.

The big inning was jump started by Martinez, who squeezed a ball through the shift for his third single of the night off of Joe Ross, who is starting to show signs of wearing down after following that single with a four-pitch walk to Nick Castellanos.

Justin Upton nearly grounded into a double play, but he beat the throw to first to give the Tigers runners on the corners with just one out and set the stage for McCann.

Bottom 5th: Nationals 3, Tigers 2

Michael Fulmer really did have a nice fourth inning before allowing a double with two outs. He was also having himself a nice fifth inning before walking Bryce Harper with two outs then giving up a two-run home run to Ryan Zimmerman that gives the Nats the lead back at 3-2.

Ben Revere grounded out and Fulmer notched his fifth strikeout of the game when he got Anthony Rendon to swing at a nasty slider on what may have been his best pitch of the night to leadoff the inning.

Daniel Murphy notched a two-out single as a diving Ian Kinsler saw the ball scurry into the outfield off his glove, but Fulmer came back to strike out Jason Werth for the second time tonight.

Fulmer's thrown 96 pitches now and I doubt we'll see him in the sixth. He's shown flashes of why the Tigers are so high on him, but he's still a young pitcher and needs to keep growing.

Top 5th: Tigers 2, Nationals 1

Andrew Romine drew a leadoff walk, but Michael Fulmer couldn't move him up to second base with a sacrifice bunt, striking out in comical fashion as he attempted to do so.

It didn't get any better for the Tigers in the fifth as Ian Kinsler flew out to center field and J.D. Martinez popped out to end the inning.

Bottom 4th: Tigers 2, Nationals 1

Michael Fulmer was locating really well in the fourth inning before he left a fastball right in the middle of the zone and Wilson Ramos stroked a two-out double to center field.

Fulmer intentionally walked Danny Espinosa to get to Nats pitcher Joe Ross, who struck out swinging to get the Tigers out of the inning.

Daniel Murphy flew out to center field and Jason Werth struck out to leadoff the inning.

Fulmer was having his best inning of the night prior to that Ramos double. His pitch count is up to 74.

Top 4th: Tigers 2, Nationals 1

Nick Castellanos' hot bat is slowing no signs of cooling down as the young Tigers' third baseman hit his seventh home run of the season and second in as many nights to give his team a 2-1 advantage in the fourth inning.

Victor Martinez got things going with a leadoff single, his second hit of the night, setting the stage for Castellanos.

Justin Upton struck out swinging on a hanging slider right in the middle of the plate for the first out of the inning. James McCann grounded out and Anthony Gose did the same to round out the inning.

What a tear Castellanos is on. He's got 28 RBI on the young season and is really blossoming into the stud hitter the Tigers thought he could be.

Bottom 3rd: Nationals 1, Tigers 0

Anthony Rendon got things started with a single back up the middle of the diamond, but Andrew Romine robbed Bryce Harper of a hit to left field by snagging a sharply hit ground ball and get Rendon at second. It was originally ruled that the Tigers turned a miraculous double play, but after review Harper was awarded first base.

No matter because with one out, Ryan Zimmerman hit a ball hard right at Romine and he turned a more conventional double play to end the inning.

Fulmer's pitch count is at 53 and the balls are jumping off the bats of the Nationals. He needs to give a tip of the cap to Romine for saving his bacon in what could have been a big inning for the home team.

Top 3rd: Nationals 1, Tigers 0

Ian Kinsler stroked a two-out double down the left field line, but J.D. Martinez flew out to right field to strand Kinsler and end the inning.

Andrew Romine led off the inning by flying out to right field and Michael Fulmer, in his first big league at-bat, struck out on four pitches without ever taking a swing.

Joe Ross has thrown just 34 pitches through the first three innings.

Bottom 2nd: Nationals 1, Tigers 0

Danny Espinosa came to the dish with a full plate and knocked home the first run of the night with a sharply hit single to right field off Tigers' starter Michael Fulmer, giving the Nationals a 1-0 lead and leaving the bases loaded for pitcher Joe Ross.

Fulmer was able to blow away Ross with a fastball for the second out of the inning. He got Ben Revere to ground out to first base on the first pitch he saw to end the inning.

Ryan Zimmerman grounded out to leadoff the inning, but Daniel Murphy stayed hot, singling with one out for the National's first hit of the night. Jason Werth followed suit and Fulmer walked Wilson Ramos to load the bases for Espinosa.

All-in-all, it wasn't the worst inning for Fulmer as he kept his troubles from snowballing on him, but he has thrown 44 pitches through the first two innings and doesn't appear to be in control of his secondary pitches.

Top 2nd: Tigers 0, Nationals 0

Justin Upton grounded out to third, James McCann did the same and Anthony Gose grounded out to the shortstop as the Tigers went down in order in the second inning.

Ross will try to get ground balls by burying the ball in the zone all night long. So far, four of his six outs have been groundouts.

Bottom 1st: Tigers 0, Nationals 0

Michael Fulmer is off to a good start in D.C. after throwing 18 first inning pitches in setting the Nationals down in order.

Ben Revere grounded out to Ian Kinsler at second, Anthony Rendon flew out to shallow center field and Fulmer froze Bryce Harper with a fastball on the black to end the inning.

It was important for Fulmer to get off to a good start tonight, but as we found out last night with Anibal Sanchez, the second time through the lineup is the biggest hurdle to producing a quality start for your club.

Top 1st: Tigers 0, Nationals 0

Victor Martinez notched a one-out single, shooting the ball the other way while hitting in Miguel Cabrera's spot tonight. Nick Castellanos couldn't stay hot against 22-year-old National's starter Joe Ross, flying out to left field to end the inning.

Ian Kinsler worked a full count against Ross before ultimately grounding out to third base to leadoff the game. J.D. Martinez struck out swinging at a nasty slider.

Ross brings in an ERA of 1.23 and has been awesome on the mound this season. The Tigers lineup could be in for a long night.

TIGERS LINEUP

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. J.D. Martinez, RF

3. Victor Martinez, 1B

4. Nick Castellanos, 3B

5. Justin Upton, LF

6. James McCann, C

7. Anthony Gose, CF

8. Andrew Romine, SS

9. Michael Fulmer, P

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Ben Revere, CF

2. Anthony Rendon, 3B

3. Bryce Harper, RF

4. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B

5. Daniel Murphy, 2B

6. Jayson Werth, LF

7. Wilson Ramos, C

8. Danny Espinosa, SS

9. Joe Ross, P

TIGERS AT NATIONALS

What: Second of a three-game series

When: Tuesday, 7:05 p.m.

Where: Nationals Park

Pitching matchup: RHP Michael Fulmer (1-1, 6.30) vs. RHP Joe Ross (3-1, 1.23)

Local TV: FSD

Internet streaming: MLB.TV

Local radio: 97.1 FM

Satellite radio: Sirius, SIRI Internet 849