Verlander dominates before Worth delivers late
Tigers ace hurls five scoreless innings; infielder hits clutch RBI double vs. Nats
VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals and Tigers found themselves in a pitchers' duel at Space Coast Stadium on Sunday afternoon. When it was over, the Tigers edged the Nationals, 2-1, in front of 6,836 fans.
The game was tied at 1 when Detroit scored the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth inning against reliever Michael Gonzalez. Steve Lombardozzi led off with a single, then stole second and third base before scoring on a double by Danny Worth.
Tigers ace Justin Verlander was solid, pitching five shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out four batters. The hit came in the fifth inning when Adam LaRoche singled to center field.
"[Pitching coach] Jeff [Jones] was even joking with me," Verlander said. "He tried to jinx the no-hitter on purpose to try to get my pitch count up a little bit. He said, 'If you keep the no-hitter going, I'll let you go back up.' He was totally lying, but he said it just to jinx it on purpose. I laughed."
Verlander was given a 1-0 lead in the first inning. With right-hander Jordan Zimmermann on the mound, Rajai Davis led off with a single and Ian Kinsler was hit by a pitch. Davis and Kinsler pulled off a double steal before Don Kelly grounded out, scoring Davis.
Zimmermann ended up having another solid outing, allowing just the one run in four innings. After Zimmermann left the game, the Nationals received solid performances from left-handers Sammy Solis and Xavier Cedeno, both of whom are battling for spots in the bullpen.
The Nationals tied the score at 1 in the sixth inning. With right-hander Evan Reed on the mound for Detroit, Jeff Kobernus scored on a passed ball by catcher Bryan Holaday.
Up next: Miguel Cabrera, Torii Hunter, Alex Avila and Austin Jackson are among the starters slated to be in the lineup behind Anibal Sanchez as the Tigers host the Nationals on Monday at Joker Marchant Stadium. Ian Krol, Al Alburquerque, Blaine Hardy and Luke Putkonen are all scheduled to pitch in relief, while Hernan Perez gets the start at short. The game is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET and will be on Gameday Audio.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.