Jordan, Ayala combine to allow nine runs; McLouth's RBI double gets it started
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Torii Hunter's 4-for-4 performance spearheaded a 22-hit onslaught of singles and doubles from the Tigers, who scored nine runs over the third and fourth innings en route to a 12-6 win over the Nationals on Friday at Joker Marchant Stadium.
The hit parade ranged from Austin Jackson and Nick Castellanos doubling off the left-field wall to Rajai Davis turning a blooper to right field into two bases. The collective effort marked the second time in five days the Tigers put up double digits in runs.
It was an impressive amount of work considering how well Nationals starter Taylor Jordan held down Detroit's lineup the first time through the order. Jordan, once rumored to be a Tigers target during offseason trade talk before the Tigers acquired Robbie Ray in the Doug Fister trade, held Detroit to a Hunter single and a Castellanos double over two shutout innings before Detroit broke out against him in the third.
Hunter, Victor Martinez, Jackson and Castellanos all had RBI hits in the third off Jordan, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 4-1 lead, before five consecutive one-out hits broke open the game in the fourth. That included Hunter's line-drive RBI double into the right-field corner off Luis Ayala, plus Davis' RBI single off Zach Jackson.
Hunter's fourth hit came in the fifth inning with a line drive to left-center. After Miguel Cabrera singled him over to second base, Hunter swiped third in a double-steal with pinch-runner Steve Lombardozzi, who has been part of three double-steals this year.
Jordan gave up four runs on seven hits over three innings. Ayala yielded five runs on six hits in two-thirds of an inning. The collective support was more than enough for Rick Porcello, who gave up five runs on seven hits over four-plus innings.
Porcello gave up a Nate McLouth RBI double in the first inning before Tyler Moore turned on a high sinker for a two-run homer in the fourth. Porcello sat down for close to 45 minutes during the Tigers' fourth-inning rally before giving up back-to-back hits in the fifth,including a Jamey Carroll RBI triple.
Phil Coke limited the damage by retiring the top of the Nationals' lineup in order from there before Scott Hairston homered off Al Alburquerque in the sixth.
Up next: The Nationals travel to Jupiter, Fla., to play the Marlins on Saturday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. ET, marking the second time these two teams have met this spring. The last time they played each other was March 2, with the Nats pounding the Marlins, 10-3. On Saturday, right-hander Stephen Strasburg will get the start for Washington. He is looking to refine his new pitch, the slider, after throwing his share of them against the Cardinals on Sunday.