WASHINGTON (AP) Andrew Romine drove in the tiebreaking run on a play that withstood a replay challenge under the new slide rule, Miguel Cabrera tacked on a pinch-hit RBI, and the Detroit Tigers overcame Ryan Zimmerman’s two homers to beat the Washington Nationals 5-4 on Tuesday night, ending a seven-game losing streak.
Bryce Harper came up as the potential go-ahead run in the ninth, but closer Francisco Rodriguez intentionally walked the reigning NL MVP to put two men on with one out for cleanup hitter Zimmerman. Rodriguez struck out Zimmerman swinging, then got .402-hitting Daniel Murphy to fly out to center for his eighth save.
The Tigers trailed 3-2 before scoring three runs in the sixth off Joe Ross (3-2). After James McCann’s RBI single tied it, Romine came up with the bases loaded and one out. His grounder led to a forceout at second base, but Romine beat shortstop Danny Espinosa’s throw to first in a bid for a double play.
Because Anthony Gose’s slide was not near the bag at second, Washington hoped Romine would be called out on review, based on this season’s rule governing how a baserunner must slide. But Gose did not make contact with Espinosa, and the play stood as called on the field.
Cabrera then produced a bloop single to add an insurance run and make it 5-3 – which became important when Zimmerman delivered his second home run of the night, in the seventh off reliever Drew VerHaven. That solo shot followed Zimmerman’s two-run homer in the fifth off Michael Fulmer (2-1), after Harper was walked.
But Zimmerman could not come through again in the ninth.
Before his 15th career multihomer game, Zimmerman entered the night batting .227 with one homer and 12 RBIs, and in the previous five games had gone 2 for 23. While the Nationals were being swept at the Cubs over the weekend, Zimmerman repeatedly failed to make Chicago pay for pitching around Harper. The most glaring example came Sunday, when Harper tied a major league record with six walks – including twice to load the bases – and Zimmerman left 14 runners on while going 1 for 7.
Fulmer, making his third big league start, went five innings, allowing three runs and seven hits.
Ross gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings. He was the only qualified starting pitcher in the majors to not have allowed a homer this season until Nick Castellano’s two-run shot in the fourth.
Tigers 1B Victor Martinez singled in each of his first four at-bats before popping out in the ninth. … Murphy turned in his major league-leading 17th multihit performance this season in 32 games.
STRASBURG’S DONE DEAL
Before the game, the Nationals held a news conference to discuss their new deal with RHP Stephen Strasburg. And all these years later, it sure sounds as if he signed a $175 million, seven-year contract precisely because of the Nationals’ decision to end his 2012 season before the playoffs – not despite it.
The Nationals announced they traded INF Brendan Ryan to the Los Angeles Angels for cash. Ryan was at Triple-A Syracuse this season.
Tigers: Cabrera jammed his right knee in the dirt while sliding into second base in Monday’s 5-4 loss to Washington. Before the series began, manager Brad Ausmus said he planned to rest Cabrera for one of the games. “Miggy’s fine,” Ausmus said. “I just decided … this might as well be the day that he gets.” … OF Cameron Maybin is expected to return to action in center field at Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday after being reduced to DH duty because of a bothersome shoulder. He is on a rehab assignment after going on the DL with a wrist injury.
Former teammates and current friends, Nationals RHP Max Scherzer (3-2, 4.60 ERA) will face Tigers RHP Jordan Zimmermann (5-1, 1.10 ERA) in Wednesday’s series finale.