Offense Continues Its Resurgence As Nats Sweep Tigers


I could get used to this offense.

Seven of eight offensive starters reached base, the bats knocked Doug Fister out after just three innings, and the Nats (19-15) held on to beat the Detroit Tigers, 5-4.

May 9, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11) is congratulated by Danny Espinosa (8) after scoring a run during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Dan Haren (W, 4-3) looked great against a formidable Tigers lineup up until the end of his outing. After allowing nothing more than a harmless single in a scoreless first, the offense jumped to his aid, scoring three runs on five hits and an error to give him a quick cushion. Denard Span doubled and Roger Bernadina, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche, and Ian Desmond all hit singles to score the runs. Haren quickly showed that he might need that run support, allowing an RBI single by Fister, of all the batters in that potent lineup, to cut the lead to two. This, of course, was no problem for the offense, and Zimmerman and LaRoche delivered RBI singles in the second to bring the score to 5-1. Zimmerman would finish 3-4 with a run scored and an RBI, while LaRoche was 2-4 with an RBI and seems to have put his slump far behind him. By the end of that inning, the Nats had seven hits and looked to be well on their way to pasting the Tigers.

However, the win would not be so easy. Fister was pulled after three innings with a gruesome line: 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 4 K, but his replacements were not so easy to pick on. Darin Downsthrew two perfect innings with three strikeouts, and the rest of the bullpen combined to allow only two more Nats baserunners the rest of the game. Meanwhile, the Detroit offense was threatening against Haren. After five innings, they had amassed seven hits, and things got dicier in the sixth.

May 9, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Rafael Soriano (29) is congratulated by Washington Nationals center fielder Denard Span (2) after the final out against the Detroit Tigers at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

With runners on first and second and two outs in the sixth, pinch hitter Matt Tuiasosopo came to the plate. He is indeed cousins with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the mastermind behind the Manti Te’o hoax, but he was very real today: He hit a three-run blast that cut the Nats’ lead to 5-4. After getting Jackson out to end the inning, Haren’s outing ended with a decent line: 6 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, but most importantly, he got the win. For the next three innings, Ryan Mattheus, Drew Storen, and Rafael Soriano each posted an identical line: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K, 0 R, and Soriano earned his twelfth save of the season as the Nats moved to 6-1 in May.

Next Game: Friday v. Chicago (NL), 7:05 PM. Samardzija (1-4, 3.09) v. Detwiler (1-3, 2.50)