Zimmermann strong, but Nats held to just three hits
Righty allows one run over four innings; offense shut down by Tigers' Verlander
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.
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 outing] was OK," Zimmermann said. "The fastball command wasn't really there today. I fell behind a lot of guys. I was working some deep counts, which I don't want to do. Overall, it was OK, but I wish the fastball command was there a little bit."
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: The Nationals travel to Lakeland, Fla., on Monday to play the Tigers for the third time in four days at 1:05 p.m. ET on Gameday Audio. Right-hander Tanner Roark will get the start for Washington. In his last start, Roark allowed three runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Astros.
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.