3/22/2013 4:15 P.M. ET
Strasburg fans five, takes liner off hand as Nats fall
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
VIERA, Fla. -- Left-hander Drew Smyly outdueled right-hander Stephen Strasburg as the Tigers edged the Nationals, 4-3, at Space Coast Stadium on Friday afternoon.
Smyly was solid for five-plus innings, allowing a run on four hits and striking out five batters. The one run was scored in the fifth inning on an Ian Desmond home run.
Strasburg pitched six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, and striking out five batters. The Tigers were able to get Strasburg in the second inning, when Matt Tuiasosopo homered over the right-field wall for his fourth home run of the spring.
The Nationals received a scare in the fourth inning when Strasburg was hit on the left hand by a line drive off the bat of Prince Fielder. With a runner on first base, Fielder hit a line drive up the middle. Strasburg tried to catch the ball, but it hit his left hand and went into center field for a single. Strasburg was seen shaking the hand, while manager Davey Johnson, catcher Kurt Suzuki, pitching coach Steve McCatty and athletic trainer Lee Kuntz came to his aid.
Strasburg would stay in the game and allow two runs in the fifth inning. Fielder and Victor Martinez had RBI singles.
The Tigers added another run in the top of the seventh inning off reliever Henry Rodriguez. With the bases loaded and one out, Jordan Lennerton hit the ball to the right-center-field gap. Roger Bernadina made a nice diving catch, but Kevin Russo scored on the sacrifice fly.
Washington scored its final two runs of the game off Tigers reliever Phil Coke. Suzuki and Steve Lombardozzi each hit sac flies to make it a one-run game.
Up next: The Nationals travel to Port St. Lucie on Saturday (1:10 p.m. ET on MLB.TV) to play the Mets for the fifth time this spring. The Nationals are 2-1-1 against New York. Left-hander Gio Gonzalez will make his first start for Washington since March 7. Gonzalez pitched in the World Baseball Classic and then pitched in a Minor League game after Team USA was eliminated.
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.