The Washington Nationals (31-34) built and subsequently surrendered leads in the first and third innings as they fell to the Detroit Tigers by the final of 7-4. Detroit (34-29) was lead by multi-hit games from centerfielder Ryan Rayburn, right fielder Magglio Ordonez, and catcher Gerald Laird. The Tigers' multiple comebacks came at the expense of Nationals' starter John Lannan, who yielded seven runs (six of which were earned) on ten hits in just 4.1 innings pitched. He also walked four batters in his second straight poor outing, raising his ERA to 5.45. The Nationals' bullpen did perform quite well when called upon for extensive service, as Tyler Walker and Sean Burnett combined for 3.2 innings of two-hit baseball while walking no one and keeping the Tigers stuck on seven runs.
Unfortunately for the Nationals, their offense ultimately let them down. After scoring four runs in the first four innings, Washington's bats went cold. Though credit is clearly due to Max Scherzer and the Detroit pitching staff, an inability to put the ball in play severely hampered the Nationals' chances. After averaging fewer than seven strikeouts per game entering last night's contest, the Nationals walked back to the dugout on the 13 separate occasions, with four hitters striking out multiple times. When facing a defense as porous as that of Detroit (third in baseball in errors committed), the Nationals needed to force Tigers' fielders to make plays. Washington was unable to fully exploit Detroit's weakness (though Laird did make a throwing error in the first that led to a run), a failure in execution that helped cost the Nationals the game.
The Tigers and Nationals kept pace in their race for the worst defense in Major League Baseball. Each team committed one - Washington second baseman Cristian Guzman and Detroit catcher Gerald Laird both had errors that cost their teams runs. The count is tied at one apiece, but keep an eye on the defense to see how and when it affects this series.